By Erin Eggleston, corps member, 122nd Street Elementary School

The start of the school year is almost always an exciting time. Most students filter into classrooms armed with new pencils and notebooks, ready to start yet another year of learning, but what about those who couldn’t access new school supplies? Imagine trying to go through school without the things you needed: no pencils or paper for taking notes, no binders or folders to stay organized, no backpack to hold anything for class in. Unfortunately, this is a reality for many under-served students around the Greater Los Angeles area.

For the third year in a row, City Year Los Angeles has partnered with Comerica Bank and LAUSD’s Homeless Education Program to work together to help students be ready for class to reach their full potential. On September 6th, corps members spent the day building backpacks for over a thousand students in the area. For elementary school students, each bag held pencils, paper, notebooks, pencil pouches, and several other essentials. For middle and high school scholars, backpacks held things like binders, graph paper, notebooks, pens and pencils. Regardless of age or situation, each backpack held what any child deserves to have when starting school.

As a corps member, it was extremely gratifying to be able to help out in a service opportunity like this one. Everyone was excited to take part in further helping students in Los Angeles to help make a school year better. City Year Los Angeles works with students in and out of classrooms to keep kids on track throughout the year, but reasons why students struggle are sometimes vast and hard to pinpoint. Not having the right supplies for school makes learning harder, which made every backpack finished a small success for the corps. Knowing that we were helping to alleviate some stress for students to make their learning a little easier made all the hard work worthwhile.

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