EPCC’s Rio Grande campus will be hosting a “School Supplies Store” event in the cafeteria on July 30. The event will be from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
The idea began as a means to help Rio Grande students, specifically those who are parents.
“When kids go back to school, all the school supplies are so expensive. We (Director of Service Learning Program, Patricia Islas and myself) know many of our students here are parents.
So, we thought that if we could help them –it would help the community,” said Psychology Professor Shanan R. Valles, who is also the main creator and coordinator of the event.
But Valles did not end there.
“We figured that Rio Grande is in such a good area, and we have so many elementary schools around us, that we could do good in that way,” said Valles.
Although the event’s setup is similar to that of an actual store, it is only a one-day event. The store will target elementary children from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade.
The event will feature booths that customers and children can visit in order to earn Tejano Bucks. Tejano Bucks may be used to purchase school supplies from the store.
Children may also bring in their report cards as another opportunity to earn Tejano Bucks.
Some booths will inform children of what EPCC has to offer, while others are strictly for fun.
The store also aims to boost at-risk children’s self-esteem.
“On the first day of school when everybody else is going through their backpacks, I think of the little kid that doesn’t have anything. In the summer, we do this so they can have their stuff too and a new cool backpack,” said Valles. The event will be held for the second time.
It was first commenced in 2015 at the same campus. The event drew in a crowd of 55 children.
The store anticipates to draw in around 100 children this year. While the event has become a success by opening for a second time, there is still some concern present.
“If students feel as though they need school supplies –they can contact me. They can come to the event and participate, and their children can participate, too.
I don’t want to turn people away. For me, the worst thing would be that kids come, and we don’t have enough school supplies,” said Valles.
Donations are welcomed and appreciated. Specifically, backpacks, cleaning supplies and any other supplies an elementary school student may need.
Those who would like to make donations may contact Shanan Valles at (915) 831-4062 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drop-offs will also be accepted at the Valle Verde Service Learning Program. Those interested may contact Irene G. Perez at 915-831-2489 or email@example.com.
Students and Staff are encouraged to volunteer, as well as anyone else who is interested. Staff may help by setting up informative booths, while students may be needed to help organize the school supplies and other tasks.
While the event continues to gain momentum, it is expected to spread throughout other campuses in the future.
If possible, it will continue annually at Rio Grande.