The district’s many community partners play a vital role in helping each and every student have a great start to the school year.
This summer Congregations For Kids, an all-volunteer group sponsored by the Eastside Interfaith Social Concerns Council, provided school supplies for students in need for the 20th year in a row. This year supplies were provided for 1,650 students districtwide.
Volunteers raise funds and gather donations throughout the year, purchasing the bulk of the supplies in the summer, and gather to organize and pack the supplies over a two week period in the gym at Stevenson Elementary.
“It is an amazing sight because you have volumes, just volumes, of the school supplies that are meant for the different grade levels,” Nancy Jacobs, a longtime volunteer with the program, said. “Everything is done on specific student requests and different grade levels.”
School staff submit names of students who will receive supplies and Congregations for Kids delivers them to the main office or they are picked up by a school representative.
In addition to supplies that are distributed at the beginning of the year, Congregations for Kids also provides schools with some extra sets of supplies for students who arrive mid-year.
“The need just continues,” Jacobs said.
Also this summer, Jubilee REACH organized volunteers for the annual Day of Service, completing projects at numerous BSD schools as well as in the greater community.
This year over 2,250 volunteers from more than 60 churches, companies, and organizations participated in the day, completing projects in 357 classrooms and 19 schools. Projects at schools included everything from planting flowers to helping teachers prepare their classrooms for the new school year.
“It’s a lot of laminating, a lot of cutting out, a lot of switching over bulletin boards,” Ken Carpenter, who oversaw the organization of volunteers for the day, said. “All of that takes time, and to give that over to volunteers, then teachers don’t have to spend time doing that.”
Jubilee REACH Executive Director Brent Christie said that not only does the Day of Service help schools and the community, but it helps the community learn about all that goes into opening school for the year.
“The accumulated effect is just seeing teachers feel the support and affirmation,” Christie said. “It’s about engaging, serving, supporting, and building community.”