In hopes to aid at-risk children, Rio Grande campus psychology instructor, Shanan Valles and Service Learning Program director, Patricia Islas, are holding a School Supply Drive.
Schools in the downtown area have many children that live in shelters such as the Rescue Mission, La Posada, the Lee & Beulah Moor Group Home, and also hotels and motels along Mesa Street. “At-risk, for this group of kids, means homeless,” said Valles.
The drive is aimed to provide school supplies for elementary students in the downtown area.
Along with helping the students in their academic success, Islas and Valles are looking for the drive to benefit the children’s families.
“We both know how expensive the back-to-school shopping can be, so we decided that this was a great way to help,” said Valles.
Valles, is informed by school counselors of the number of students that are considered to be at-risk.
This would be the third year that the School Supply Drive is held, and although no supplies have been collected, she hopes to have a greater number of school supplies donated in comparison to the past two years.
“The first year, we served 55 children, the second year, we were able to help 200 kids.
This year I expect more, so the need for more supplies is great,” Valles said.
Currently, they are aiming to beat last year’s number, and hope for the drive to service 300 elementary students.
The school supplies collected in the drive are given to the children that attend The School Store event that takes place on July 29.
At the event, the children and their families will walk around and visit the vendor booths, which will be dedicated to inform students and their families of the various programs, clubs and departments at EPCC.
While educating students and their families of all that EPCC offers, the children will earn play money that they will use at the ‘shop’ to pay for their school supplies.
Valles shares how rewarding it is to have the School Store event.
She loves to interact with the families and see what a great time the children are having.
“When the kids get to shop for their supplies they feel like they are helping, they are getting to help their parents out,” Valles said.
She also points out how the School Store event impacts the community in a positive way and the message it sends to the families.
“They learn that people care about them and want them to do well and succeed.
They see everything EPCC has to offer and that they, too, can go to college when they grow up…this helps the families and provides the students with tools they need to be successful,” Valles said.
The school supplies needed are glue sticks, crayons, pencils, markers, scissors, paper, sharpeners, colored pencils, backpacks, water bottles and lunch bags.
These items can be dropped off at C414 at the Valle Verde campus or in B206 at the Rio Grande campus.
Donations will be accepted until the end of the spring semester and all through the summer session.
If you would like more information in regards to the school supply drive or would like to volunteer at The School Store event you can contact Shanan Valles at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 831- 4062.