Last week, Mount Wachusett Community College students packed 135 backpacks that will be distributed to children in foster care ahead of the coming school year.
The supplies were donated by faculty and staff at the college across all three of MWCC’s campuses. The work was done by a group of incoming students from the school’s Leadership Academy who worked with MWCC Associate Professor of Sociology and Human Services Candace Shivers, MWCC’s Assistant Dean for K-12 Partnerships and Civic Engagement Fagan Forhan and Student Leaders in Civic Engagement Member Julia Shelley during the Leadership Academy’s day of service. The effort was coordinated by the Brewer Center for Civic Learning & Community Engagement.
“The Leadership Academy day of service instills in our incoming students that giving back to the community is part of the culture at MWCC; it also helps them to build a rapport with their fellow students in a way that can instill a sense of confidence and security coming into their first day on campus as students,” said Forhan.
The new backpacks were aimed at students in kindergarten to sixth grade living in North Central Massachusetts. Each backpack contained an array of school supplies, including notebooks, pencils, pens, folders, lunchboxes, book covers, construction paper, staplers and 3-ring binders. The full backpacks were distributed to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families to be given to children who had been removed from their homes and were in foster care. The backpacks supplement the back-to-school shopping allocation that is distributed by the state for each foster child.
“As professionals in higher education, we hope to support the youngest and most vulnerable of learners, are who are already starting the school year with a level of uncertainty and fear that is incomprehensible for most of us,” said Forhan. “Each backpack also gets a note of encouragement from our students in Leadership Academy to add a personal touch.”
This was the eighth year that the Brewer Center has filled backpacks to donate to DCF. Classes for MWCC students begin on Tuesday, September 4.