Building Confidence One Backpack at a Time

Sophia, a shy blonde seven-year-old, enters the room and her eyes go wide!  She looks around and then runs and hides behind her grandfather’s legs.  She’s utterly overwhelmed as the volunteer, Jessica begins to ask her what kind of backpack she’d like to have for the year.  Sophia reluctantly agrees to a pink and purple butterfly backpack.  Her grandfather, Gerald, shares that purple is her favorite color as he encourages her to speak up.

With a filled backpack, Jessica begins to close it up, and suddenly in a barely audible whisper she hears “Can I have the donut one?” “Say that again,” asks Jessica.  In a slightly louder and stronger voice, muffled by a finger in front of her mouth, Sophia says, “Can I have the donut backpack?” “Sure!” exclaims Jessica as she goes back under the table to grab the backpack covered in sparkly donuts. “Would you also like the donut pencil case, notebook, and erasers?” “YES!” Sophia shouts with a huge smile on her face. “I love donuts!” Gerald and Jessica laugh as they repack all of the supplies into the new backpack.

As they leave JFCS, all Jessica can hear is Sophia showing everyone she sees her new donut backpack.

JFCS believes every child should have the best learning opportunities possible, beginning with the tools they need to succeed in the classroom. For many of our clients like Gerald, this is not feasible without the support of organizations like JFCS. Our Back to School Supply Shoppe program is designed to help offset the cost of school supplies for parents, grandparents, kinship caregivers, and guardians, whose buying power is stretched thin.

Every year JFCS hosts a young professionals event called the Back to School Bash, where volunteers donate school supplies. Volunteers transform one of the JFCS classrooms into a mini store for kids like Sophia to go through and select their supplies in a fun, private setting. Perry Factor, a VIALou Leadership Council member recently told us, “I always loved back to school shopping as a kid and having the chance to pick out exactly what I wanted for the year. The back to school bash is great because I help give that opportunity to other kids who might not get to have a chance to have that same feeling of choice. Seeing the amount and variety of stuff that gets donated is amazing.”

Rachel, a mother of three, shared her experience from the Back to School Shoppe.  “As a single mom, last year’s Back to School Shoppe at JFCS helped me a great deal! My children were in elementary, middle, and high school which meant a lot of different lists of supplies. I was able to have my kids come with me to select the supplies they needed all in one place, which saved me valuable time. We had a great experience last year and are so grateful for the support we received from JFCS.”

With your continued support, JFCS will send more than 175 kids to school with a brand new backpack stuffed with everything they need to be successful!

Share this Post