Literacy Backpack Day
School shopping! That's what we always called it in my house. You know the shopping you do in August right before school starts to buy school supplies, a new backpack, new running shoes and new clothes for your first day of school. This was generally our great summer vacation. We would make the nearly 600 km trek from the picturesque scene of northern Alberta, holiday trailer in tow, to the great capital city of Edmonton. School supply list in hand, we were excited to get stocked up for another school year. And stock up we did because you didn't want to risk missing an item and have to settle for a boring pack of yellow pencils when you could have had the sparkly, hologram ones from the city.
I always remember my Dad being the most excited out of everyone. He wanted us to have the coolest school stuff. He would search relentlessly through the stacks and stacks of duotangs for the one with 'Jem and the Rockers' printed on it. If there was no 'Jem and the Rockers' there, we'll move on to the next store! He would drive us across the city to make sure we got the lunch kit of our dreams. It was exciting and fun and I remember getting back to our camper each night and spreading out our loot, checking and double checking our supply lists to make sure we had everything to start school.
Those are wonderful memories I will always cherish, but now working at ABC Head Start I think about our families who are living below the poverty line. The school supply list that is a source of stress not an exciting journey. Wondering how they will buy these supplies for their children. What meal they might have to skip, what extra shift they might have to take at work and how they will fit it all in.
At ABC Head Start we do our small part to relieve some of that stress, and in true ABC Head Start style we do it in the form of a celebration. Our annual Literacy Backpack Day is tomorrow, June 21. If you are a follower of ABC Head Start on Facebook or Twitter you will have caught a glimpse of some of the contents of the backpacks and the volunteer hours that go into packing them. Since 1999, each ABC Head Start child is given a brand new backpack filled with preschool literacy tools, which means on Friday, June 21, we will have given out 4774 Literacy Backpacks.
Special guest presenters come to the sites to read to the children and present them with their backpack. This year, ABC Head Start supporter and repeat presenter, Mayor Stephen Mandel, will be at our Mee-Yah-Noh site. It marks a great accomplishment of completing their first year of school. The day is full of excitement for the children and the families. We know this day reduces stress for the families, we know we are sending tools home that children may not otherwise have, but perhaps THE BEST part of Literacy Backpack day is the joy on the children’s faces when they open the backpacks. The same joy I still remember as a child spreading out my school supplies in our camper.
A past ABC Head Start parent said, "ABC Head Start is not merely a medium for facilitating my child’s entry into the world of education, but a vehicle that develops and lays a boundless foundation which will last a lifetime.” I couldn't have said it better myself.
I encourage you all to Tweet, and join the chatter on Facebook, about Literacy Backpack Day. Use the hashtag #LBPDay and follow the celebrations across the city! (That's right, hashtags now work on Facebook!)
If you or your company wants to get involved with Literacy Backpack Day 2014, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.