When "Susie"* received a brightly colored folders and brand new crayons to start school last year, her face lit up “like it was Christmas,” recalled Wendi, a school outreach coordinator at William Tell Elementary. For Wendi, the experience of seeing a child benefit from a collaborative community sponsored school supply drive–"Stuff the Bus"–is unforgettable. According to Wendi, "Susie's" parents spend most of their income on rent, transportation and trying to keep food on the table for their four kids. “There’s not much left over for extras, like new school supplies,” explained Wendi.
Today in America, 14.8 million children live below the poverty line and 46 percent of kindergartners enter school at risk for failure. This results in many children going to school each day without basic supplies like pencils, paper, calculators, crayons and backpacks. Before "Stuff the Bus", teachers had to buy extra supplies out of their own pockets or the money was taken from already strapped school budgets. “Every day our kids come to school without pencils and half come without paper. Every day we give out pencils and paper and if we don’t, the kids don’t have it,” said Wendi.
Like United Ways across the country, United Way of Perry County and its community partners engaged the community to deliver a much needed community service to children in public schools.
The United Way of Perry County partners with each of the county schools, the Headstart and Early Headstart programs, and the North Spencer school corporation to carry out the Perry County Stuff the Bus at Wal-Mart in Tell City. The United Way of Crawford County partners with various schools and Headstart in Crawford County and the Harrison County Community Services organization to carry out Stuff the Bus at the Corydon Wal-Mart each year.
Perry, Spencer, Crawford and Harrison County students are not alone. Because of poverty and other family challenges, many children across our country go to school lacking basic supplies needed to perform well. By working together with the community, United Way impacts the lives of children and families across the country. Your United Way contribution, in time or money, is an investment in children, and together we can achieve lasting results. It takes everyone in the community working together to create a brighter future.
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*Susie is a composite of many children that Wendi has worked with in her school system.