Northwest NEWS

July 15, 2002

Front Page

Northshore drive to collect 'Backpacks for Kids' begins

by Bronwyn Wilson
   Senior Staff Reporter
   For some Northshore students the first day back to school means hoping no one notices you're wearing your big sister's old jeans and that you don't have any new school supplies. At least that would be the case if it weren't for the Backpacks for Kids program helping students in need. The program still can't help with big sister's outfits, but it certainly has come through in providing school supplies. Last year, the program set a goal for 100 complete backpacks and asked members of the community for donations. According to Dr. Pamela Steele, director of communications with the Northshore School District, last year's donations actually exceeded that goal. She explains, "We had 137 backpacks, plus 22 boxes of additional supplies and donated cash."
   This year, the program has a goal to outfit 300 backpacks as there are even more families in need of assistance. Community members can contribute three different ways. They can donate complete backpacks, or miscellaneous additional supplies or cash. New school items or complete backpacks can be dropped off at designated locations between July 15th and August 15th. Cash donations can be made at any local branch of Banner Bank, checks payable to Northshore Public Education Foundation and designating 'Backpacks for Kids.'
   Needed supplies include:
   2" and 3" three-ring binders
   Boxes of crayons
   Packages of white, college-rule lined paper
   #2 lead pencils
   Sets of colored pencils or felt pens
   Round-point scissors, glue sticks, pink pearl erasers
   8" by 4" plastic supply boxes with snap lids
   HD Apple formatted computer diskettes
   Solar calculators
   Ball-point pens
   Reusable, cloth lunch bags
   Compasses and protractors
   Sets of notebook dividers
   The Backpacks for Kids program began back in 1998 serving Maywood Hills and Westhill Elementary. In 2001, the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce became involved, sponsoring needed supplies for students in the 4th, 5th and 6th grades. "The number of partners interested in participating in this program has grown. We had thirty partners last year and already we have more," says Steele. Some of the partners include Hopelink, Community Services Consortium and the Northshore Public Education Foundation, as well as youth groups and local businesses. Together, the partners join with the community to supply students in need with tools essential for learning and achievement in school.
   Says Steele, "I think the attractive aspect of this program is that it's a very simple way for community members to make an important difference in a child's life and potential success in school. The recipients of the backpacks have been thrilled. Many of these kids would have shown up to school otherwise ill-prepared, ill-equipped and feeling a sense of 'difference' from their peers."
   A complete list of donation sites can be found on the district's website at Donations may also be dropped off at the Northshore School District Administrative Center, Room #12, 18315 Bothell Way NE, Bothell.
   For families wanting to receive complete backpacks in preparation for the coming school year, contact Hopelink at 425-485-6521 or the nurse at any Northshore School District school.