The joy of giving

big pile of backpacks

Backpacks collected during the 2017 Backpack Project.

Earlier this year, Clark College employees donated 91 backpacks filled with school supplies to the children of Clark students–a new record for what has become known as the Backpack Project.

boy with backpackApproximately one quarter of Clark’s students have dependent children, and back-to-school supplies can easily run to more than $100 per child. Recipients for the backpacks are identified each year by staff in Clark College departments like Workforce Education Services, Financial Aid, Veterans Affairs, Transitional Studies, Child and Family Studies, and the Office of Diversity and Equity.

As one family wrote, ‚ÄúThank you, thank you, thank you! This is absolutely amazing and I am so taken with your generosity and thoughtfulness. Our family is so grateful to you!”

This was the 14th year that employees have participated in the Backpack Project. We want to acknowledge and thank all of you who have helped to provide more than 822 backpack over the years.

Each backpack is unique because the project’s organizers ask the children what their favorite colors and characters are. Many donors go out of their way to find the perfect backpack for a child, scouring stores or the Internet for the perfect Seahawks or My Little Pony theme. Others load the backpack with extra supplies and fun items. This year, one Clark employee created a book about her own horses for a young child who liked horses.

girl with backpackMore than 70 employees donated backpacks to the project this year, for a variety of reasons. Some do not have children at home but want to participate in the excitement of back-to-school time, while others are parents who are working to instill the value of giving in their own children. Many departments also make this a team project and take an after-work shopping trip together. Whatever their reasons, the Backpack Project brings as much joy to those who give as it does to those who receive the backpacks.

If you would like to participate in the Backpack Project next year, watch for a collegewide email sent in July; backpacks are generally due by mid-August so that children can receive them before the new school year starts.

This article was contributed by Planning & Effectiveness Administrative Assistant Cindy Heck and ctcLink Manager Susan Maxwell, who co-organize the Backpack Project each year. Photos contributed by Clark College Workforce Education Services and by student parents.