Donations help support student success

By Lori Larsen

As the summer begins to wind down and we draw closer to September and school starting again, families with school-aged children are facing the “back to school” supply lists for students recommended by most school divisions.

Sadly, the past few years of dealing with the pandemic and an economic turndown, some families within our communities are struggling just to get by, never mind having to find the funds to purchase school supplies.

Because every child and youth deserves the chance to be as successful as they can in school, Camrose Family Resource Centre (CFRC) and Camrose and District Support Services (CDSS) have partnered with Camrose Staples for the Tools for Schools.

“The program reduces a known barrier preventing children and youth from successful learning and participation in school–access to school supplies,” explained CDSS executive director Lyndel Kasa.

“There are many families who cannot afford the supplies needed for school and this year the need will be greater due to the economic impacts of COVID-19.”

During the month of August and up to September 11, Staples employees will be asking customers at each transaction if they would like to donate to the Tools for Schools. Staples will then provide CDSS and CFRC with vouchers to distribute to families in need that reside within the City of Camrose or Camrose County. The vouchers can then be redeemed for a grade specific pre-filled backpack from Staples.

“Being a part of the Tools for Schools program is a natural fit for us,” said Camrose Family Resource Centre program coordinator Krista Lantz. “Successful learning and participation for children in school leads to a successful family overall.”

Kasa added that when the families come to pick up their voucher, they will be connected with the Camrose Family Resource Centre (CFRC) and CDSS for information, referral and supports.

Camrose and District Support Services reaches individuals and families in the City of Camrose, Camrose County, and the villages of Hay Lakes, Bittern Lake, Edberg, Bawlf and Rosalind, providing preventative social programs and services that help people improve quality of life and enhance capacity to deal with crisis situations should they arise.

The Camrose Family Resource Centre is part of the Camrose and Area Family Resource Network. “We provide consistent, flexible and accessible programs to families with children 0-18 years of age in the City of Camrose, Camrose County, Beaver County and Flagstaff County,” explained Lantz. “These programs include family support, information and referral, parent education, family programs and events, developmental screening and rural 
support.”

Lantz continued by saying that the aim at CFRC  is to support parents in navigating their parenting journey through connection. “Connection with the staff here at the CFRC, to participate in our programs and services, but also connection with other agencies, families and supportive programs in the community. Families can call our office or come down to our office and access our services.”

Last year, the Tools For Schools program distributed 35 backpacks to families in the Camrose area. This year, with the need being elevated, people are encouraged to give what they can to help students succeed. A bin will also be set up in the Camrose Staples store to collect any donations of school supplies including any unused or unopened supplies you have left from a previous school year.

The backpacks are set up to suit Grade levels and  include a variety of colours and styles to suit individual preferences.

In support of the CDSS and CFRC, the Chase the Ace progressive raffle, sponsoring organization Kinsmen Club of Camrose, has chosen the Tools For Schools as the Draw 29 feature charity. Proceeds from the funds raised during the ticket sales of this draw will be donated to the Tools for Schools program.

“Back to school time is always exciting, especially when you have everything you need for learning,” commented Kasa. “Not everyone has that opportunity. The Tools for Schools can help those unable to afford all the necessary supplies –and keep that excitement alive.”

For more information on Camrose and District Support Services, visit camrosefcss.ca.

For more information on Camrose Family Resource Centre, visit camrosefrc.com.