VIDEO: Equipping U.S. children for success in a new school year

As the economic downturn continues and many American families struggle just to make ends meet, children across the country risk starting another school year without basic supplies they need to succeed in their studies.

Published August 8, 2011 at 12:00am PDT

This year, approximately 25,000 children will receive backpacks filled with school supplies through World Vision. Still, the need remains great.

“We are very troubled not only by what we are hearing from our staff, but by the trends we are seeing nationwide,” says Romanita Hairston, World Vision’s vice president for U.S. programs.

“As the U.S. economy continues to sputter, children in poverty will pay the price. The unemployment numbers are particularly concerning. If parents cannot find jobs, that means basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, binders, and backpacks are a luxury item many families simply cannot afford.” 
At World Vision’s site in New York City, requests for backpacks are expected to top over 16,000 this year — but just over 37 percent of those in need will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.

“Our goal is to help prevent parents from having to choose between buying school supplies and buying groceries,” says Grace Lubwama, executive director for World Vision in Southern California. “Since 1997, World Vision has distributed backpacks to more than 250,000 children nationwide. For the past several years, we have seen the number of families in need increase, and this year is no exception.” 
Brian Boyd, Pacific Northwest field site director with World Vision, notes that the burden often falls on teachers to purchase basic learning tools. “Research shows that teachers already spend an average of $356 of their own money on school supplies,” he says, “and many teachers I work with spend a lot more.”

Last year, World Vision served more than 23,000 teachers and 450,000 students through eight teacher resource centers in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Minneapolis, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and Appalachia. These resource centers serve schools that have a high percentage of students on free or reduced lunch. Teachers can go “shopping” four times per school year for a variety of classroom supplies from pencils and paper to books and math tools.

Help now

Make a one-time gift to help provide school supplies to U.S. children, like books, art supplies, videos, educational games, sports equipment, and other items donated by our generous corporate partners. Your donation will multiply six times in impact to help students in need start the new school year on a positive note.