San Diego, CA–As the summer break approaches, students everywhere will be gearing up for another school year.
On July 18, United Way of San Diego County began hosting its annual month-long “Back to School Drive” through August 15 to gather new supplies for local students and families in need.
“With families in our community still recovering from the effects of the pandemic, buying new school supplies can be a challenge, especially with the continued rise in inflation,” says Nancy L. Sasaki, president and CEO, United Way of San Diego County. “We hope to provide some relief to those households in need of support and, in turn, give their students an equal opportunity to start the school year on the right track.”
Since the start of the pandemic, communities across San Diego County have faced increasing hardships, including loss of wages, adverse housing conditions, and more. These challenges placed an unprecedented burden on many families, especially those already experiencing financial instability. Although society may be heading toward an endemic, many families continue to be negatively impacted.
Due to inflation, gas and grocery prices continue to increase, making it even more difficult for families to make ends meet. To help those most vulnerable to these inequities, United Way San Diego is collecting new school supplies to help ensure students in need won’t fall even further behind.
According to a recent study, the impact of the pandemic on students in grades K-12 was significant, with those learning remotely experiencing greater declines than those learning in person. High-poverty schools spent 5.5 more weeks in remote learning than low-poverty schools. Researchers also found a “higher incidence of remote schooling for Black and Hispanic students.” These numbers exacerbate the already significant educational, and opportunity gaps that diverse students face.
In addition, “summer slide” can also cause a loss of learning, especially for students in low-income communities. Summer reading loss is known to compound over time, and high school graduation can be predicted with reasonable accuracy by knowing someone’s reading abilities at the end of third grade. Students who are not reading at grade level by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. It is more crucial than ever that students not only begin their school year prepared but also confident to help guarantee academic success and bridge the gaps in their region.
The organization encourages community members to take part in the positive transformation of students’ lives by donating through its online gift registry or by making a monetary donation directly to the nonprofit to support its ongoing efforts to address inequities in the community and close the gaps in learning, and economic mobility so that all San Diegans can thrive. The nonprofit is looking for new school supplies, including pens, pencils, erasers, books, notebooks, backpacks, and other items.
United Way of San Diego’s “Back to School Drive” is sponsored by Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan, which is an independent member of the Blue Shield Association, Navy Federal Credit Union, and Higgs Fletcher and Mack.
For more information and ways to get involved, visit uwsd.org/B2S.