Hundreds of backpacks distributed at Back to School Social

Out with the pool days and popsicles, in with the school bells and homework! Tis the season for the back-to-school shuffle.

Shopping for backpacks and school supplies is a common back-to-school tradition, but not all children have the opportunity to storm local store aisles with their families and leave with an armful of new school supplies. This holds especially true for children in the foster care system who often have little-to-no belongings when they are placed with families.

Each and every child deserves to start off his or her new school year fully prepared, which is why Southwest Human Development hosted the Kinship Care and Adoption Back to School Social for Arizona foster families from around the Valley who flocked to partake in an afternoon of school supply “shopping,” free haircuts, games and raffles.

“Back-to-school season is a really hard time of year—both financially and otherwise—for many children and families in our programs,” said Annette Sutfin, Southwest Human Development’s volunteer engagement manager and former Kinship Care and Adoption manager. “It’s hard for them to enjoy the freedom of summer then face academic and social difficulties transitioning back into the school year. But being able to walk in with a brand new backpack and all the supplies they need gives them the confidence they deserve for a successful start to learning.”

Families and children mingled in the picnic area to eat lunch donated by Chick-fil-A, while others eagerly played a “Passport to Fun” game that allowed children to collect stickers for a chance to win one of 30 prizes including family games, action figures, dolls, and more. Children also had the option to receive a fresh new haircut by volunteer hair stylists from Blurred Lines and Great Clips.

“The kids with their backpacks on were just beaming. Some wore their backpack around the whole event to show them off! They were just so excited and everybody had a great day,” added Sutfin.

In total, more than 1,000 backpacks packed with school supplies were given to families this back-to-school season.

Thank you to the many volunteers and community partners who contributed to the event’s success!