As the summer winds down and attention shifts towards a return to the classroom, the faculty of The College of New Jersey’s School of Education is making sure students in local communities have the tools they need to begin the school year.
Through their annual “Backpack Project,” faculty collect donations and purchase school supplies and backpacks that are distributed to students in the Trenton area through community partners Homefront, Fathers and Men United, and Eastern Service Workers Association.
“We want to make sure that the students in our community are starting school with confidence, and the materials that they’ll need to be successful,” said Maureen Connolly, associate professor of secondary education and coordinator of the project.
Supplies provided include notebooks, folders, pens, pencils, erasers, sticky notes, crayons, colored pencils, and other materials to help students show up ready on their first day of classes.
In a typical year about 30 School of Education faculty members participate by donating and organizing backpacks, and many have even recruited family members to help maximize the impact.
“The project includes everything from gathering donations and purchasing the supplies to filling the backpacks and delivering them to our community partners,” Connolly said. “The more help we have the better. It’s always nice to see family members of our faculty pitching in to help out.”
Connolly estimates 450 backpacks have been distributed to local students over the last nine years.
For more information or to donate please visit the 2023 Backpack Project’s website.
— Luke Sacks