“What’s middle school like?”
“Was it scary?”
Those were some of the questions JLDOC members fielded during a Summer visit to Student U. There, we met a group of 54 rising 6th graders who had spent the summer at Student U’s six-week academic enrichment program, which helps them prepare for the year to come. For the rising sixth-graders, that means a transition to middle school – the start of their journey toward the ultimate goal of attending and graduating from college.
This is the third year that the JLDOC has helped make the transition to middle school a little easier by supplying each student with a sturdy new backpack stocked with school supplies. Each of the bags contain a mix of classroom staples – from notebooks to index cards to a USB drive, all donated by JLDOC members and friends of the League. Also tucked inside is a note of encouragement from a League member. These definitely drew smiles.
It costs about $81 to stock a new backpack with grade-appropriate school supplies, making back-to-school a time of substantial financial stress for many low-income families, not just in our immediate area, but nationwide. But all we saw that afternoon were big smiles. And lots of hands in the air, ready to ask questions!
Fiston, one of the students, thanked us for taking time out of our day to visit with students and help them prepare for school.
Bettina Umstead, Student U’s middle school program director, agreed. “We are really thankful for our partnership with the Junior League,” she said, adding that the backpack donations really make a difference for families in need.
We’re proud to be a part of the students’ efforts to beat the statistics and succeed in school. Here’s to a great year to come!
~Contributed by Kate Rugani, JLDOC President 2014-2015