Pre-School Backpack Program Seeks Caring Donors

Pre-School Backpack Program Seeks Caring Donors

(Press Release, 6/28/2011)

Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter has launched a new Pre-School Backpack Program designed to give each student in Ferndale’s Head Start classes a new backpack filled with essential supplies needed to successfully begin the school year.  A $1,250 grant from the Ferndale Community Foundation will be used to purchase the backpacks, and community groups are asked to “adopt” a classroom and fill the backpacks with back-to-school items.

“An investment in the lives of these at-risk 3- and 4- year old children now will help create a strong foundation for their long-term success,” said Mayor Coulter.  “Educators say that children who arrive in kindergarten without some form of early childhood education start their school careers at a disadvantage that can have lasting consequences.  It’s in all our interest to give them the start they deserve to have a great school year.”

Ferndale offers early childhood education (pre-Kindergarten) at Grant Early Childhood Center to 68 low-income or special needs children in four Head Start classes, which are administered by the Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency (OLHSA) and operated in partnership with the Ferndale Public Schools.  For Head Start students, many of whom come from single-family homes or without the resources to provide basic back-to-school items, they begin without the tools other students take for granted.

Program participants will receive a new, empty backpack in September with the first name, sex, age and clothing size of a Ferndale Head Start student, as well as a prescribed list of items to purchase.  They will then have two weeks to return the backpack filled with such items as crayons and a coloring book, a reading book, toothbrush and toothpaste, underwear and sweat clothes (estimated cost of items is approximately $30 per backpack).

“I have personally participated in a similar program in Warren, Mich., and I know first-hand that buying the items and filling the backpack for your adopted student creates a satisfaction that is far greater than simply writing a check.  My hope is the program will engage the community in our shared responsibility for these kids’s future,” said Mayor Coulter.

Each of the four Head Start classes has less than 20 students each.  Community groups interested in learning more about adopting a classroom (or partial classroom) are encouraged to call Mayor Dave Coulter at 248-543-8984, or dwcoulter@comcast.net.    The Pre-School Backpack Program is supported entirely through contributions, and no taxpayer funds will be used.

Read about the other Community Foundation grant winners: http://oaklandcounty115.com/2011/06/27/community-foundation-grants-announced.

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