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We can all agree that the best part of heading back to school is the smell of a new box of crayons. A new school year, a new notebook—it’s so simple but it makes a difference. There are neighborhoods everywhere where children are starting the school year without the supplies they need to succeed. No matter where you live, you can donate your time and money to nonprofits like Operation Backpack that equips kids with backpacks and other educational gear. We’ve also rounded up other great ways to help students of all ages excel in your city—sometimes it really does take a village.
New York City
After school programs have proven to help children stick to their studies and reach educational goals. It’s why donating to the Children’s Aid Society is a great way to impact the future of the neediest children across New York City’s five boroughs. These after school programs have homework help, snacks and art, athletic and music classes every afternoon in community centers. This kind of structured activity is really helpful for kids who would otherwise be home alone in the afternoons.
Homeless and and low-income children don’t have the same outlets for play as other children. Cradles to Crayons provides children clothes, books, toys and art and craft supplies for kids ages infant to 12. Donate supplies during their community drives or chip in with funds online anytime.
For low-income families, guidance in how to get into college is essential. By providing mentoring and financial help, Philadelphia Futures prepares students to succeed in college. They help high school students navigate the application process and secure scholarships and financial aid. Become a mentor today or give to their scholarship funds.
For hundreds of children in Chicago’s foster system, school supplies handed out by Childlink is the only preparation they have for the academic year. This nonprofit also provides foster children with childcare. Want to get involved? Local businesses can sponsor school supply drives as well as sponsor a backpack for $50.
Partnering with different school districts, Neediest Kids helps children with their basic needs including eye exams and glasses, personal care toiletries, food and transportation. They also help suit kids up with school supplies and uniforms. Donate financially online, attend a benefit function or connect with them to give necessities.
A San Francisco-based college access program, First Graduate, helps students finish high school and become the first in their families to graduate from college. Because parental education is a major predictor of children’s educational success, this program commits to a long-term relationship, working with sixth graders until they reach college graduation. Donate funds or your time to provide these students with tutoring, college counseling, career exploration and family activities.
School on Wheels offers one-on-one weekly tutoring for children in need. Along with helping homeless children locate lost records, they provide scholarships and school supplies. School on Wheels even has a learning center located on Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles. This organization is always looking for both adult and teen tutoring volunteers as well as people to hold supply drives.