BackpackProject
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Lots More Pencils,
Lots More Books

School supplies are in the bag for our littlest Penguins,
thanks to the efforts of Clark College volunteers

Backpacks

  

It’s that time of year again: time to head back to school, ready to learn new
things and make new friends. But for some Clark students who have children
of their own, this time of year can be stressful. Especially during these tough
economic times, many parents find themselves struggling to pay for basic school supplies for their children.


Fortunately, for the past seven years Cindy Heck and Susan Maxwell of Clark
College’s Office of Planning and Effectiveness have organized the Backpack
Project. Through this annual event, Clark College staff and faculty contribute
backpacks—and the school supplies to fill them—that are then distributed to
parents in the Displaced Homemakers program, Child and Family Studies,
and Work Study. Staff in Eligibility Programs, Financial Aid, and Child and
Family Studies helped identify students in need of the backpacks. Thanks to
their concerted efforts, the Backpack Project was able to distribute a record 78
backpacks. That’s 26 more than last year.


“I love this project,” said Ann Snyder, an instructor in Women’s Studies who
contributed to this year’s project. “I have a lot of fun and satisfaction shopping
for the backpacks and filling them with supplies. … All the good intentions in
the world don’t make a difference if there aren’t folks like [Heck and Maxwell]
who are willing to do the background work.”


These were no generic packs. Donors were given information about the child
who would be receiving their pack—their age, favorite colors, and any special
requests they might have. One high school student asked for a calculator…
and there it was, tucked into her backpack with all of her pens, pencils, and
notebooks. One little Star Wars fan got a backpack themed on his favorite
movie. Meanwhile, the college’s Student Recruitment and Communications and
Marketing departments contributed Clark College pens, pencils, magnets, and
temporary tattoos.


This generosity was greatly appreciated by its recipients. “I can’t express how much your help means to me and my girls,” one Clark student wrote after receiving backpacks for her daughters. “Prepping for a new school year is the most stressful
time for me. This gift has really relieved me of one of my biggest stresses.”


Workfirst Program Coordinator Lindsey Kerrigan said that she loved participating in the project this year. “Our whole office was filled with backpacks and it really makes an impression on our students—the ones receiving them, and the ones asking about them as they walked by our offices,” she said. “Their responses were variations of ‘Are these donations? That is so cool!’ I’d have to agree with them.”

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