Archive for Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Backpack program sends kids to school in style

For those stressed out about finding school supplies, a Douglas County program could provide some relief.

June 10, 2009


It was just a Hannah Montana backpack, but it made one 10-year-old girl proud on the first day of school. She received the backpack stuffed with her school supplies from the annual school kit program at the Ballard Community Center.

“This program allows me to send my children to school without being embarrassed,” said Rebecca Frasier, a mother of four. “She actually cried because she got a Hannah Montana backpack, so she thought she would be cool because she had the same things the other kids have.”

More stories like this one are what the school kit program is designed to achieve.

“(The children) walk in the school building on the first day of school, and they have new things too,” said Dianne Ensminger, CEO of Ballard Community Services. “It’s not a hand-me-down backpack or a torn backpack. They’re on the same page.”

The program has been providing school supplies to the children of Douglas County for the past 25 years. A total of 450 kits were given out last year.

“We’re expecting there to be a greater demand this year so we’re going to start taking applications earlier,” said Andy Brown, Ballard’s director of human services programs. ‘‘… We’ll try to help everybody that signs up.”

Anyone who wants to enroll in the program is asked to visit the Ballard Center, 708 Elm, bringing with them a photo identification, Social Security cards and proof of income. Brown also said anyone who receives free or reduced-priced lunches is eligible for the free school kits.

Ensminger said the agency is seeking grants to finance the program. “We are also asking donors to bring us school supplies off the Lawrence school supply list, which is available at most of the stores and also available on the Lawrence public schools Web site,” she said.

All donations can be dropped off at the center between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Those who wish to donate money can send a check to Ballard Community Center, P.O. Box 7, Lawrence, KS 66044, with “school kit program” written on the memo line. For more information, call 842-0739.

The kits probably will be distributed the first week of August.


larrykaki 8 years, 11 months ago

I used the same school bag and pencil box for many years until it worn out and there is nothing embarrassed about it. We should teach our younger generation to appreciate what we had and not encouraging materialism. We go to school to get education not to compare what other parents can buy.

RogueThrill 8 years, 11 months ago

There is a lot of truth to what larry says. People don't need new backpacks every year. People should learn to make things last (not saying this little girl does not know how to). This is skill our society should value.

Unfortunately, children are the cruelest little things and they are always looking for someone different to alienate. They will pick on the ugly kid, the dumb kid, the smart kid but they really like picking on the poorest kid (oddly enough, especially if they are poor themselves).

I am not saying we need to keep kids in fashion to prevent them from falling prey to bullying, but little things like this from considerate donors provide needed relief for children. Now this little girl can hopefully go to school and learn without having to worry about someone as stupid as children making fun of her backpack.

RogueThrill 8 years, 11 months ago

That last "someone" is supposed to be "something".

mommyoffour 8 years, 11 months ago

I think the Ballard Center is doing a very nice thing for all these children and families! God Bless them. Honestly backpacks and alot of things aren't made very well. One year we had to replace my sons backpack three times because the zipper kept jamming.

Tony Kisner 8 years, 11 months ago

Seems like a nice program which appears to be funded by individual free choice.

I don't know that these kids are arriving at school in a new BMW while texting on the latest I-pod.

avoice 8 years, 11 months ago

"Unfortunately, children are the cruelest little things and they are always looking for someone different to alienate. They will pick on the ugly kid, the dumb kid, the smart kid but they really like picking on the poorest kid (oddly enough, especially if they are poor themselves)."

They get this from their parents. Apples fall close to the tree. Also, as many teachers are also parents, it's no wonder that adults who work at schools allow the bullying to go on right in front of them. Cruelty is acceptable to our society.

slrbase 8 years, 11 months ago

Let's not forget that these backpacks are simply the packaging for the true purpose of this program - providing much needed school supplies to these kids. And if a new backpack puts a little spring in the step of an underpriviliged kid, then that's just icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned!

muddfoot55 8 years, 11 months ago

I also know that there are several churches in Lawrence with similiar programs, which are funded by their congregations. It really is a great thing!

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