How Important Is It To Start The School Year Prepared For Success?

Another school year has begun throughout Arizona. Boys and girls, ages 5 to 18 are headed back to school to learn, to grow, to interact with peers and to take another step to becoming our future leaders.

The back to school process places huge burdens on families – getting their kids ready, outfitting them with clothing, supplies, backpacks and a positive attitude. It can be ridiculously expensive to buy all the items needed to fill those school supply lists. Add in the costs of clothing and shoes, and the cost for a single child could easily exceed $300.

Family of 9 is outfitted with new backpacks to start the school year.

Making A Difference, One Family At A Time

We meet foster families every day at Arizona Helping Hands who are providing love and safety to more than 1 child. Some families approach double digits in the number of children in the house. Imagine the responsibility for getting NINE kids ready to go back to school. A combined investment of more than $2,000!!

One such family has become near and dear to the hearts of all of us at Arizona Helping Hands. Grandma and Grandpa were foster parents to 4 youngsters when the call for help came from the Department of Child Safety. FIVE grandchildren were in need of love and safety. As a Grandfather myself, I know the response to that call for help would be “bring them to us, we will figure this out!” The financial burdens, added to the stresses of assimilating so many new family members into your day to day routine can be overwhelming…

Our partnering efforts have put smiles on the faces of so many kids, giving them a confident attitude to begin a new year of learning adventures. We are so grateful to all the donors who have made this impact possible.

We made a difference for this family and for hundreds more over the past few weeks. With the support of community backpack drives, corporate sponsorships and a generous matching gift from Executive Council Charities we will provide backpacks to 6,000+ boys and girls. 2018 was the sixth year that we collaborated with Arizona Friends of Foster Children, Voices for CASA Children and AASK to reach as many children as possible. Our partnering efforts have put smiles on the faces of so many kids, giving them a confident attitude to begin a new year of learning adventures. We are so grateful to all the donors who have made this impact possible.

2018 saw a major expansion of our back to school support. With funding from the BHHS Legacy Foundation, Arizona Helping Hands and Arizona Friends of Foster Children were invited to participate in the Back to School Clothing Drive. At Grand Canyon University over 4 nights during the last week in July we supplied 1,000+ children in foster care with a complete clothing package, including polos, shorts, sweatshirt, underwear, socks, shoes and more. Think back to Grandma and Grandpa and their clan of 9. This service made a real difference in their lives and helped these kids start the new year with a sense of pride. It also took such a load off of Grandma and Grandpa who struggle to meet their day to day responsibilities and can send these kids to school looking and feeling good!

Arizona Helping Hands is the largest provider of basic needs to kids in foster care throughout the State of Arizona. With 15,000 kids in the State’s foster care system there is a lot of work to do to help make their lives a little bit easier. We say a huge thank you to the donors, volunteers, collection drive sponsors and our collaborators who gave us an amazing gift – the chance to say to 5thgrader Jose, 10thgrader Alicia and so many more that we are proud of you, we support you and want you to succeed. We wish an enjoyable school year to all, filled with wonderful new experiences! Feel proud and Stand tall, you’re starting the year prepared for success!

Dan Shufelt is the President & CEO of Arizona Helping Hands, the largest provider of basic needs to Arizona’s children in foster care. Learn more about the Organization atwww.azhelpinghands.org and contact Dan at dshufelt@azhelpinghands.org

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