EPISD classes are back in session and thanks to the efforts of local community members and businesses hundreds of students were able to start school with new backpacks and supplies.
The Northeast Youth Stride for Success Foundation, which was founded by EPISD teachers Ricky Ramirez and Andrew Macias six years ago, collected more than 600 backpacks on August 6 for students in the Andress feeder pattern.
“We grew up in the northeast, and we both understand that there are less fortunate kids within our community,” Macias said. “We wanted to help parents and kids get the school year started off in the right direction by simply having the necessities of school to include a backpack. Every year it has grown, and every year we continue to get unbelievable support from the northeast community.”
The organization also collected basic school supplies and monetary donations to purchase more backpacks. The backpacks and supplies were dropped off at six northeast elementary schools, and will be given out by school counselors to students in need.
The backpack and school supply drive would not be possible without the support of students, who volunteered their time to collect donations on a Saturday. More than 50 Andress football and baseball players participated.
“It is important for our students to get involved. They understand that they are doing it for kids who attended the same elementary as them and who probably will attend Andress as well,” Macias said. “It’s all about looking out for one another and making sure we do our part to help out any way we can. The northeast is a special place with incredible people, and we have a lot of selfless young men at Andress who are great kids with great intentions and good hearts.”
Students at Hart Elementary also received new backpacks and school supplies thanks to a donation from Cardinal Health.
“We have a serious and strong commitment to support our community,” said Cardinal Health Operations Manager Ed Salas. “Our employees fundraised and brought supplies to help support students.”
The organization partnered with the south-side school to provide the supplies and assist with other projects throughout the school year.
“We are super excited to have new partnerships here at Hart Elementary,” assistant principal Michelle Corral said. “This helps students be prepared for the first day of school. They come in with so much confidence, and they feel supported.”
The organization donated around 50 backpacks, each filled with school supplies, such as paper, notebooks and pencils.
“I am excited about getting a new backpack,” fifth-grader Destiny Garcia said. “Sometimes your parents can’t buy you a backpack.”
At Burleson Elementary, the office of state representative Cesar Blanco hosted a school supply fair, which provided students with backpacks, school supplies, uniforms and even free haircuts.