Gear for Grades initiative sponsors backpack distribution

On September 11, 2013, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

Arthur D. Headley School students were delighted to receive their free backpacks laden with school supplies and plenty of surprises last Friday.

Arthur D. Healey School students were delighted to receive their free backpacks laden with school supplies and plenty of surprises last Friday. – Photo by Rahul Raghuvanshi

By Rahul Raghuvanshi

The kindergarteners of Arthur D. Healey School were happy for something more than a Friday. For this Friday, students from grade K1 through K6 were given bags full of crayons, pencils and other school supplies at an event organized by Cradles to Crayons.

The event kicked off with bright-eyed students cheering “Yay!” as Principal Jill Geiser announced to the students the goodies filled backpacks they were going to get. “Such efforts help students see how much the community cares for them,” Geiser said.

The Citizens Bank Gear for Grades program sponsored the backpack distribution event organized by its community partner Cradle to Crayons.

The Senior Vice President of RBS Citizens Financial Group, Rick Musiol, Jr., believes that there is a strong need for corporations to step up and make efforts towards the welfare of students. “We need to make sure that students have what they need,” Musiol said. “Such efforts contribute towards a brighter future of young students.”

The students were distributed 1200 new logo free backpacks and school supplies as a part of Gear for Grades initiative. The initiative aims at distributing 6,600 backpacks in Massachusetts against a $50,000 donation from the Citizens Bank foundation.

Cradle to Crayons has been partnering with Somerville Public Schools since 2010 and has distributed 4,600 backpacks so far. The CEO and founder of Cradles to Crayons Lynn Margherio feels that it’s critical for the self esteem of students to have the basic school supplies to fit in.

“Children need a lot to be confident when going to school,” said Margherio. “Every one can contribute by sharing what their kids have outgrown. We expect to have an overwhelming demand for children who do not have the necessary resources to go to school.”

The bag distribution event was organized for the third time in Somerville since 2011.


6 Responses to “Gear for Grades initiative sponsors backpack distribution”

  1. Boston Kate says:

    It’s ‘Healey’, not ‘Headley’.

  2. MT says:

    The story is unclear. Were backpacks given to all students, or students in need? If they were given to all students, I’m disappointed in Cradles to Crayons, which I think in general is a great charity. There are many students attending the Healey School who can well afford backpacks and school supplies.

  3. Barry the Pig says:

    MT, even well off students can carry the advert-backpack on their back. Plus, they make for good PR as well.

  4. Sandy says:

    What do you mean by ‘advert-backpack’? The article specifically states that the backpack is logo free. I agree that a charity like Cradles to Crayons with a good reputation should not be handing out backpacks to people who don’t need them. The Healey School houses the Choice Program which is no longer a separate program, but still attracts the majority of our more well-to-do residents.

  5. SomMom says:

    If only the kids in need carried these backpacks, they would stand out more,but if all the kids have them, they won’t feel they’re wearing a backpack that shows that their families are poor. That’s the theory behind the decision to give the backpacks to everyone, I imagine, the same way school breakfasts and summer lunches are free for everyone. But in reality, many of the kids whose families could afford to buy backpacks will probably be carrying fancier backpacks they picked out themselves.

  6. joshua says:

    I won’t donate to a charity that uses its’ money to buy backpacks for rich kids. And I find it a little offensive that they have decided that the kids in the Healey are all in need of backpacks. Because of where its’ located?

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