Now in its second year, Community Action Planning Council’s Back to School in Style initiative promotes healthy habits and provides low-income families with much needed personal care items and school supplies. Throughout the spring and summer months, the agency collected donations of personal items, such as shampoo, hairbrushes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, and femine hygiene products, along with traditional school supplies. Thanks to donations from the community and grants provided by the Northern New York Community Foundation Youth Philanthropy Council and Staples Foundation, the agency served a total of 211 low-income families (479 children and 308 adults) through Family Fares, held in Carthage, Philadelphia and Watertown.
In addition to supplies, families were provided with used jeans, courtesy of the Aeropostale Teens for Jeans campaign. Each Family Fare event featured fun, learning activities hosted by community organizations. Families toured a healthy heart trail, maneuvered an obstacle course, sampled nutritious snacks, and engaged in games and crafts, while picking up tips for nutrition and exercise, as well as dental and hair care.
Participating organizations included Flower Memorial Library, United Healthcare, YMCA, New Attitude, Girl Scouts, Public Health, North Country Family Health Center, WIC, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Jefferson County Dairy Princess, Bethany Church, Head Start and Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project. The Carthage event was organized by Church of God Soldiers of Jesus Christ, and officials from the Town of Philadelphia coordinated the Philadelphia event.
In an effort to ensure that the Back to School in Style initiative is meeting family needs, the agency offered a survey to attendees. Fifty eight percent (122 families) of those who attended Back to School in Style events completed evaluations with 113 families reporting that they acquired new knowledge in one or more areas, including nutrition, exercise, personal care, and community resources.
Once the academic year is underway, Community Action Planning Council plans to reach out to local schools to establish supply closets, stocked with personal care items and school supplies. The goal is to ensure that children of low-income families have the resources for success throughout the school year.
For more information about Back to School in Style, contact Mary Mathewson at 315.782.4900 ext. 233.