MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – In his continued quest to build trust and cohesion between the school district and community, new Schools Superintendent Kenneth Hamilton is teaming with Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis to host the third annual “Back to School Backpack Giveaway.”
Each year, as the school year approaches, the district collects standard “back to school” items, such as pencils, rulers and notebooks, which are then distributed to Mount Vernon students in need.
This year, a record number of local organizations and businesses have teamed together to collect items and monetary donations, which will be delivered to students between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30 in Hartley Park.
“Many of the hardworking families in this community will struggle to provide their child with the tools necessary to start the school year,” Hamilton said. “If through this drive, we can help with that burden by providing a new backpack, some notebooks, pens and pencils, that is one less thing our families need to worry about.”
The Back-to-School Committee has issued a challenge to the community, to help supply and outfit at least 10,000 backpacks for students. Donations are being accepted through Sunday, Aug. 24.
“This is a collaborative effort between the city, schools and community organizations who understand that through teamwork, we can better serve the children of our community,” Davis added. “By coming together, we’re providing example to our children that we, as a community, believe in them and recognize the importance of education and maintaining a strong community.”
The Backpack Giveaway will be an all-day event dedicated to the children of Mount Vernon. There will be activities for kids, health and dental education information, refreshments and a “Back to School Summer Breeze Concert.”
“This gives us a chance to partner with city organizations,” Board of Education member Omar McDowell and co-chair of the event, said about the backpack giveaway. “We want to bring the new superintendent into a community that is engaged and ready to watch our students succeed.”
Regaining the trust of the Mount Vernon community has been something Hamilton has stressed since being tabbed for the job last month. He was active at a community cookout at the district office earlier this month and spearheaded the backpack giveaway, despite just being on the job a few weeks.
“I think restoring the faith in public education in Mount Vernon is a paramount concern for me,” he said. “We need to make sure that every youngster in our district has the opportunity to meet their full potential.”
Donations can be sent before Sunday, Aug. 24 to: Back-to-School Backpack Giveaway c/o Mount Vernon City School District, 165 N. Columbus Ave., or dropped off to Room 105 in City Hall. Volunteers can sign-up online.