Books have a powerful impact on children from an early age, expanding creativity, sparking a lifelong passion of knowledge and aiding in the study of STEM subjects. However, for the one in four children living in poverty in California, books are luxuries that cannot be afforded. With low-income students falling two grade levels behind their peers in reading skills by 3rd grade, not having books comes at a greater cost to our community.
A third grade teacher shares, “ Most [students] don’t own books. They don’t have them at home. They use the small library but it makes a difference when they have ownership and they don’t have to return it. It’s theirs.”
Kicking off our Back-to-School Drive, Family Giving Tree’s Books for Backpacks campaign sparks the love of learning in low-income children by providing a new book in each elementary school backpack. Because of your generosity, you have helped distribute books to over 15,000 low-income elementary students! Thank you!
You can continue to spark the love of learning for low-income students on May 3rd through SV Gives where every donation will provide a new book in an elementary school backpack.
Midway through the year, as students return to their classrooms after a long break, many are returning unprepared with the tools to learn. How can students fully participate in the classroom if not having school supplies is a constant threat to their education? Family Giving Tree understands that poverty is not seasonal. Listening to the teachers and administrators, we discovered students run out of supplies within the first 6 months of the school year, with teachers attempting to fill the gap with what little supplies they have.
Knowing the needs of those in the community are present year-round, with your generous donations Family Giving Tree works with schools to restock classroom supplies through Teacher Boxes. These boxes filled with extra school supplies will give students the tools needed to participate in the classroom. As one parent from Dorsa, an elementary school we partner with, explained, “Donations are tools for success.” Thank you for your continued support in their future.
A student living in poverty is Silicon Valley's underdog; no one really expects them to succeed. This summer you changed that for 36,720 Bay Area students in-need. Education is the most effective tool to combat systemic poverty. For these students, it is more than just a backpack filled with school supplies. This backpack is a symbol of hope for a brighter future. When you donate, you are saying, "You can succeed! I believe in your potential."
While speaking to the principal at one of the schools we help, we discovered a sad, shocking truth. One of the students has to live in his car with his family because they cannot afford rent. For this student, the backpack he receives is the only thing that is his own. To him, this backpack you have given is a safe space in which he can find comfort. With this backpack he can do his schoolwork, finish homework, succeed, and thrive.
The backpacks donated this year have been distributed to the most in-need students in the Silicon Valley: East Palo Alto, Downtown San Jose, San Francisco's Tenderloin District, San Jose's Alum Rock Neighborhood, Oakland, and Hayward just to name a few areas. Because of your donations, these students living in poverty have hope for a brighter future. You have given them so much more than a backpack.
We’re just days away from backpacks being due back to the warehouse for our 2015 Back-to-School Drive. With a goal of 35,000 low-income students to serve, we’re counting on you to help make a difference in the education of local students. It’s amazing that something as simple as a supply-filled backpack can have such a positive impact for a child living in poverty. Together, we are laying the foundation for future success by making the investment in students at schools like Washington Elementary today.
95% of Washington Elementary’s students live at or below the poverty level. In an area that is filled with gang violence, prostitution, and drugs, these children are given hope in the form of a backpack. Since becoming involved with Family Giving Tree in 1997, the school went from being ranked as one of the lowest in academic achievement to one of the highest, scoring 799 on California’s API in 2013. “Student achievement increases when children benefit from this support” concludes Principal Maria Evans.
Your continued generosity creates these stories of hope and allows for success to blossom in the poorest areas of our community.
We are so grateful for your support that enables us to provide low-income students with the tools they need to excel in the classroom. Thanks to your donation, you are able to inspire the joy of learning and give low-income students the foundational building blocks of education to build a brighter future. A challenge we face each year is getting enough books in our kindergarten through 5th grade backpacks.
Traditionally, many don’t think of reading as a STEM skill but studies show that low-income students are 2 years behind their affluent peers in reading and math skills by 3rd grade. And early reading skills have been marked as an indicator for future successes in STEM subjects. This achievement gap is yet another barrier to breaking the cycle of poverty. Lisa Mackintosh, a 5th grade teacher at Washington Elementary, knows firsthand the importance of having fluent readers, “When children cannot read, it affects everything, like math. You might think it’s just numbers, but [math] involves a lot of reading. If they struggle to read, they will struggle with math”.
As a part of our Back-to-School Drive for 2015, we are addressing this through our Books for Backpacks campaign during Silicon Valley Gives on May 5th and continuing May 6th through June 15thon Classy. To join the conversation follow us at @FGTTweets on Twitter or like us on Facebook.
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