The Issue: Families Unable to Afford School Supplies
From 2007–2011, 12.8% of residents in Aurora, IL were living below poverty level, according to data from United States Census Bureau. For families with school-age children that fall into this category, maintaining basic necessities such as food and housing can be a challenge, especially when compounded with the annual cost of school supplies.
The Campaign: Distributing School Supplies to Local Students
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by Communities In Schools of Aurora, IL (CIS) to distribute school supplies during its Back to School Fair. For every $10 raised, the organization will purchase pens, notebooks, and other class essentials for local students from low-income backgrounds.
The Back to School Fair provides free school supplies, physicals, and immunizations to approximately 3,000 low-income students annually, giving them the confidence and tools they need for a successful school year. The Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry, in conjunction with the mobile pantry for the Northern Illinois Food Bank, also hands out food at the event. At the end of the fair, volunteers conduct exit surveys to see what aids helped people the most—allowing the organization to improve its offerings for the following year.
Communities In Schools of Aurora, IL
In February 1995, residents of Aurora, IL were coping with two separate tragedies. Teens Moshe Rogers and Armando Mendez, both innocent bystanders, had been shot to death in crimes that occurred three months apart. In an effort to end the violence and honor the victims, the community banded together to form Project Unity—serving as a bridge between local schools, residents, and churches. The organization held the first Back to School Fair, which aimed to ready students from low-income families for the upcoming school year with free supplies, medical exams, and haircuts.
Communities In Schools of Aurora, IL (CIS) has since taken over responsibility for the school fair, one of its many projects to ensure equal footing for all students. Operating inside the former Fox Valley Park District building, the organization partners with more than 65 local social service and nonprofit agencies to help lower student drop-out rates. This it does by empowering students to succeed, whether through tutoring sessions, literacy training, or counseling services.