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El Observador

Students need to have the proper supplies if they are to succeed at any level of education. Unfortunately, many of them come from families who are struggling financially and cannot afford to purchase these supplies.

That is why each year, Sacred Heart Community Service holds it annual Pack-a-Back Campaign.“This is our eleventh year and reflects our ongoing commitment to ensuring every child in our city receives a rich education,” said Jay Pecot, Director of Development at Sacred Heart.

The campaign began on Friday, July 12th, and people began lining up at Sacred Heart Community Service early in the morning, in hopes of signing their child up for a backpack filled with school supplies.

“Pack-a-Back will provide 2,462 children from low-income families with the tools they need to start the new school year,” Pecot said. “Staff and volunteers from Sacred Heart Community Service work together to collect the school supplies and backpacks required for the child’s specific year in school.”

“The students who registered to receive their school supplies were from all over San Jose.  Many were pre-registered as part of our education programs and more came from the local elementary school that we work with closely.”

“All the supplies come from the community.  Individuals bring the supplies for a few backpacks. Some organizations have committed to provide hundreds of backpacks this year,” Pecot said. “In particular, Bank of America has already helped register children on Friday the 12th, will collect backpacks from employees, and will be here on August 12th to distribute them.”

Over 400 volunteers will help by registering children, building the backpacks and distributing them.

“That isn’t including the hundreds more that will collect supplies or provide donations,” Pecot said. “This is a community effort!”

“We believe that everyone wants their child to succeed in school. For low-income families, it can be difficult to afford the supplies when rents are so high in our area,” Pecot added. “If a child doesn’t have the tools they need, they start the year at a disadvantage.  We want each child coming to class on the first day ready to focus on their education.  Together, we can make that happen.”

Every parent that registered his or her child on July 12th received a scheduled appointment time for August 9th. The parents will return to Sacred Heart on that day and won’t have to wait in line to get their school supplies.

“The Achievement Gap reflects the challenges many low-income families face, particularly Latino families, as they help their child succeed at school.  We work closely with parents and encourage them to become actively involved with their child by reading to them every day–in English or Spanish. And, we give them tools for working with teachers and local school administrators so they can advocate for their child’s success,” Pecot said. “It is imperative that all the children in Santa Clara County receive high quality education that helps them graduate from high school on time, and then graduate from college with the skills they need in the new economy.”

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© 2011 news el observador ·A weekly newspaper serving Latinos in the San Francisco Bay Area
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