Sound Off: Help show we care for kids

  • Saturday, September 1, 2007 11:00am
  • Opinion

Back to school can be a fun time for kids especially when they are able to start the school year with new school supplies. For those who cannot afford new supplies, this time of year can be stressful for parents and sad for kids.

Over the past few years, the number of children without proper school supplies has declined, thanks to the Opportunity Council’s Backpack Project, North Whidbey Lions and United Way’s Stuff the Bus, and Back To School Project by Readiness to Learn Foundation. This year we need your help to ensure that every child has the supplies and tools they need to be successful.

The Backpack Project/Stuff the Bus is a community-wide effort to collect school supplies for the kids across the county. Anyone can purchase new supplies and bring them to the Opportunity Council at 1791 NE 1st St., Oak Harbor. Needed school supplies: notebook paper, number two pencils/pens, pencil pouch, supply box, scissors, glue/glue sticks, crayons-24/box, colored pencils, colored markers, erasers, folders, subject dividers, binders, rulers, Kleenex and calculators. Opportunity Council has been busy throughout the year purchasing new backpacks.

The Back To School Project is also a school supply drive that serves families who qualify based on financial need. The project provides students with new school supplies, including a backpack and a clothing voucher for that new school outfit. On South Whidbey appointments will be available after school starts as families are referred. Time slots are from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 2 to 5 p.m. Donations are greatly appreciated.

For specific information, Oak Harbor families can contact the Opportunity Council at 1-800-317-5427; in Coupeville contact Vivian Rogers-Decker at 360 678-4551 x 236; on Camano Island contact Dana Baker at: 360-629-1290 x 2584; and on South Whidbey call Marilynn Norby 360.221.6808 x 4602.

The collaborative partners of these projects want all our children to have the proper school supplies to assist each of them with their studies and help build self-esteem. This is a community that wants to make back to school exciting for all our children.

In Island County, we also show care for our children by honoring them with a magical day of fun and laughter at Children’s Day. The event this year will be held on Saturday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in Langley at the South Whidbey Community Park on Maxwelton Road.

As in years past, the 2007 Children’s Day Celebration will include a variety of fun filled activities for children and their families. There will be music, arts and crafts, face painting, resources for parents, pony rides and the most popular inflatable toys for kids and their parents to play on. Members from the South Whidbey Kiwanis Club will be providing free lunch to those attending the fun and games. The whole event is free for all.

The 10th Annual Island County Children’s Day is sponsored by the Family Support Alliance, United Way of Island County, South Whidbey Kiwanis, South Whidbey Community Parks and Recreation, South Whidbey Children’s Center, South Whidbey Record, Whidbey News-Times, Coastal Soul Construction, Toni and Jim Kotschwar and Skagit Valley College, Sno-Isle Library, and Island County Health Department. Mark your calendars for Sept. 29, Children’s Day. Don’t miss the fun…your children will thank you.

Helping children get ready for school and devoting a day to honor children, are just a few of the ways Island County cares for children. If you do too, join the fun; we’d love to have your help!

Cathy Niiro, executive director of United Way of Island County, writes on behalf of the Family Support Alliance and lives in Oak Harbor.

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