Little Penguins get big help with Backpack Project

kids in house with backpacks and school suppliesFor many Southwest Washington families, the beginning of this school year was particularly challenging, featuring teacher strikes and last-minute scrambles for child care. But one thing remained unchanged: Dozens of Clark College students could depend on Clark employees to purchase and fill backpacks so that their children could start the school year off prepared.

The Clark College Backpack Project is a long-standing tradition at the college. Names of the children are gathered and referred by Workforce Education Services, Financial Aid, Veterans Affairs, Transitional Studies, Child & Family Services, and the Penguin Pantry. Volunteers gather information about each child–grade level, supply list, color preferences, etc.–and send a shopping list to an employee who has agreed to sponsor a backpack. Children receive their backpacks about two weeks before school starts in the fall.

This year, donors provided backpacks to 65 children. All told, the Backpack Project has delivered almost 900 backpacks to children of Clark students over the last 15 years.

Smiling boy with backpack“This year has been rough, and without this help my children wouldn’t feel as secure with their schooling,” wrote one student whose children received backpacks. “I appreciate my Clark Family.”

Other parents expressed their appreciation for what the college community has done:

  • “Your kindness and generosity will never be forgotten.”
  • “Thank you so much for thinking of our family and providing such a meaningful thing for my kids to have. It makes my heart fill with love knowing they are starting the school year off right.”

The children were also very excited about their backpacks, sending messages like:

  • “Thank you for my backpack, you did good job.”
  • “Thank you I really like the backpack, when I saw it I said it was sooooooooooooooo cool!”

The annual backpack project is coordinated by Cindy Heck, Susan Maxwell, and the Office of Planning & Effectiveness. Thank you to all of the employees who sponsored a backpack this year! These backpacks make a positive start to the school year for our students and their children. Thank you!

This article and photos were contributed by the Office of Planning & Effectiveness.