All you need to know about our Backpack Project

Guelph Back-to-School Backpack Project 2015: Information One-Pager Lakeside HOPE House

IMG_5524ed (710x1024)

The back-to-school season is, for many parents, “the most wonderful time of the year” (to quote the popular commercial), however for others it’s a time of stress and anxiety, where significant extra costs stretch already tight budgets. For individuals and families living in poverty, the school necessities cannot be purchased because families need to allocate all their funds to covering housing, food, transportation and other more prioritized expenses.

While parents may try to shield their children from these financial realities and inequalities, we know that children living in poverty feel different from their peers, they feel the imbalance, and this places psychological stressors on them from a very early age. Feelings of isolation, a lack of acceptance, anger and hopelessness are often the results. Children begin acting out or withdrawing, which further affects the quality of their education. When this is coupled with other realities caused by poverty—poor nutrition, lack of stimulating activities or exercise, increased exposure to toxins etc.—students living in poverty are at a significant disadvantage to their peers. They, statistically, have grade point averages 25-35% lower and are four times more likely to struggle with truancy or dropping out.

Education is a pivotal ingredient in breaking the cycle of poverty. If children do not enter school feeling confident, prepared or excited to learn, their education experience will be significantly compromised, the effects rippling down throughout their life.

So we help fix this imbalance by helping students feel prepared and confident for the school year ahead. We would like to introduce you to the Guelph Back-to-School Backpack Project.

Each year, HOPE House organizes the city-wide Back-to-School Backpack program in partnership with other community service groups. We work to ensure that as many children as possible get brand new backpacks with those supplies needed for students to be fully prepared, enabling them to feel confident as they return to school.

Program Highlights

Providing brand-new, fully- stocked backpacks to 1000 children in need

Breaks down educational barriers for children in poverty

Brings awareness to the effects of poverty on the lives of children

Through our custom designed application process, we gather information on a student’s age, family needs and personal preferences in order to deliver a fully-stocked backpack customized to each student. By owning something brand new that is tailored to the students preferences, our kids get the message reinforced to them that they matter, that they are valued and that they have not been overlooked or forgotten. We are simultaneously helping their school readiness as well as their state of mind and attitude going into a new school year.

This year HOPE House will be supplying 1000 students in the Guelph area with new backpacks. In previous years, this project has been done in smaller numbers and funded in isolation, however in order to bring this program into the next level of effectiveness and impact we are seeking additional support. We hope you will join us in making a difference in the lives of the students this program touches–it truly gives them hope!

So what can you do to help this?

Great question! And there is so much you can do. You could sponsor a
backpack, personally shopping for a child or children from a family. You could raise supplies at your business or ask your colleagues to get involved and support this project. You could raise funds for it, make a corporate donation, or even have a small collection jar available.

You could purchase supplies and donate them or collect brand new supplies from people who would like to donate them. You could give a discount to anyone who drops off at your location or offer and incentive for people in your network to get involved. No matter the size of your business there is something you can do to help the children in our community who need your support.

And what a difference it makes!

IMG_5493ed (683x1024)The reactions we see from the parent and children in this program keep us going year after. The hugs, the tears, the pirouettes of joy, the smiles and the giggles share with us the simple truth: that reaching out to someone with compassion makes a difference. These backpacks make a difference!

We know one of the best poverty fighting tools out there is a full education— an education free of disparities and inequalities. Help Guelph students go back to school with confidence, excited and school ready. Support the backpack program.

Categories: Uncategorized