New books, clothing, health checkups and more are all part of getting ready to go back to school and start a new, productive year of learning. But for children in need in our region, none of these things are guaranteed.
Hope Kids Community is changing that one child at a time. The organization serves homeless children and those in need in our community through its Days of Hope events this summer.
In its eighth year, the back-to-school readiness program partnered with 19 churches to host 12 events serving more than 2,100 children in our region. Through support from The Patterson Foundation and the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, each child received a new book to read this summer.
Through faith, talent and gifts of books, it is our hope that by providing basic needs it will help these students begin the first day of school on an even playing field with their peers.
Children are preselected and referred for this event by their local elementary school guidance counselors. They receive vouchers that allow them to receive each service offered at the events.
Children receive a back-to-school medical exam and/or sports physical, dental check up (including a cleaning instruction and a fluoride treatment) haircut, back to school photo and family portrait, $50 to Old Navy, $25 to Payless, a backpack filled with school supplies and a care bag filled with personal care items. Meals, children’s activities, and community family resources are also available.
During the events The Patterson Foundation’s team also shared information about Vroom, an app focused on promoting early learning strategies between parents and children from birth to age 5.
Community partners help make these events possible — our partners include the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, All Faiths Food Bank, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Goodwill Manasota, area first responders, and so many more.
By partnering with faith-based organizations, our hope is that children and their families leave with a better sense of self worth and image — that they are ready to start the first day of school on an equal playing ground with their peers. Better self worth and image creates better attitude, attendance, and grades.
Follow Hope Kids Community on Facebook www.facebook.com/hopekidscommunity.