Tag Archives: backpacks

Their Faces

We are all still trying to enjoy and eke out the best last bits of summer. No one wants to think about back to school things but I have to bring it up because of their faces.

I’m talking about the faces of the school children and their parents. In our community we are less that three weeks away from our 6th Annual Connect GCISD Back to School Fair where the economically disadvantaged students in our school district receive full school supply packs, backpacks, clothing and a huge array of district and community resources all in a one hour stop.

I’ve seen the joy on the children’s faces when they select their own brand new backpack and when they receive a huge bundle of supplies appropriate for their grades. I’ve seen them when they see their principals and teachers there; their school nurse and other adults in the community. I’ve seen the relief on the parents’ faces too as their children are provided for and ready to start school, equipped to learn. The teachers and counselors faces beam as well because they know they won’t have to scramble in those hectic first days of school making sure all their students have the basic supplies to be successful.

Every year we get a little better at the fair’s logistics.  This year, over 1300 children are pre-registered. We know from experience, the children and their parents will show up. This year, for the first time, we are not scrambling through the summer to provide funds for the school supplies. Because of the fundraising efforts of the Women’s Division of the Grapevine Chamber and because of generous donations to Connect, all the school supply packs have already been paid for.  I love our community, by the way.

Our community vendors, civic organizations, police and fire, faith based organizations are all ready to serve these families. Dentists are coming with their toothbrushes; vision screenings will be done by the Lion’s Club (every year we find hundreds of children who need glasses). Families will receive information about parenting and the services of GRACE (Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange). Even children who qualify but didn’t get pre-registered will receive school supplies from GRACE at the fair.

Really, we just need two things:

1) We need elementary age new backpacks. The little kid backpacks are the most fun to buy. Drop them off between now and August 3 at the GCISD Administration office, 3501 Ira E Woods Ave, Grapevine, 76051  Last year some people ordered from Amazon and had them shipped to this address. Do that!

2) And, we need you the day of the fair, Saturday, August 5 from 8-noon at Grapevine High School. 18 and older please! We like every single family to have a guide who walks them through the fair. We will teach you how and make you comfortable. We want these families to be seen, to feel loved and equipped and a personal guide seems to be a great way to do it.  Sign up here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0b4eaeac23a5f49-6thannual or respond below and we will be in touch.

Last year, a little girl I know from the community, rushed up to me to give me a hug and showed me her new pink princess backpack. She said, “I saw my principal and my teacher from last year and they said they can’t wait to see me when school starts!” Her face was radiant. Faces are attached to hearts. That little girl felt loved and valued….and, I’m sure, ready to learn.

No one wants to think about back to school just yet, but we will, together, because of their faces.

     

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Just Do Something

We’ve all been saying it. We’ve been shaking our heads at the events of recent weeks and months. We seem to agree that we hate the violence. We hate the division among races, religions and cultures. We hate what is happening in politics right now. We hate floundering over which phrase is wrong or right to say. We hate that people are dying. We hate that there are no easy solutions and on and on.

I like it when people just start acting, don’t you? I like it when someone takes a food basket to the police station. I like it when someone puts flowers at a site where something bad happened. I like it when someone writes a note or says a prayer or marches peacefully for what they believe in. I like it when someone sends a card to a grieving family. I like it when someone offers a word of support to those in leadership during these trying times.

Do we really live in a society where young people can get guns easier than computers or books? I pray not. I want to be able to act in defiance of all that has happened lately. I want to do something positive. I know we can’t solve it all. So what, then?

In our community, thankfully, we have worked together for years to help economically disadvantaged children, especially around the issue of education. We seem to share an understanding that if these students in need are fed, clothed, healthy and equipped with school supplies and resources; we are all better off.

For the last four years, our school district, faith-based organizations, civic organizations and lots and lots of concerned citizens have worked together, in spite our differences of theology, politics, race and culture to provide backpacks, school supplies, resources and love to our struggling families at an annual Back to School Fair.

This is something positive we can do. We need new backpacks for the Connect/GCISD August 6 Back to School Fair which will be held at Grapevine High School from 9 a.m.-noon.  We love having a variety of backpacks and letting each child carefully choose the one he or she wants. Almost 1400 students are pre-registered to attend this year, the most we’ve ever had.

It seems like a small thing, buying a backpack. Could it make a difference?  I know it does. I’ve seen the children picking them out; wearing them proudly.  I’ve seen them when they receive those school supply packs supplied generously by the Women’s Division of the Grapevine Chamber. I see the relief on the faces of the moms and dads. It matters.

New backpacks can be delivered up until August 5 to the GCISD Administration Building main office at 3051 Ira E. Woods, Grapevine, TX, 76051.  Or, you can volunteer. Come to the fair and help us take positive, community-based steps for good. Sign up here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0b4eaeac23a5f49-5thannual or go to www.connectgcisd.org for more information.

Just do something.