And with a simple phrase, ‘back to school’, I can hear thousands of screams from children (and teachers) across the Omaha metro area…
But it’s almost time, folks!! In less than a month, your kiddos will be heading out the door, ready to start a new year of learning, friends and memories.
Wait… will they truly be ready?
For thousands of kids across the metro, the answer is no. No backpack, no new school supplies, no motivation to head to a place where they feel like they aren’t good enough or as prepared as all of the other kids.
This is arguably the biggest fundraising/donation event we put together every year here at KETV. We work with nonprofits, corporations and businesses, schools, and THOUSANDS of donors, to provide as many backpacks and supplies as possible for area kids who need them. This year our goal is 14,000 stuffed backpacks.
Before I became actively involved, it’s a question, I admit, I asked; why, when we could raise money and awareness to get kids food, or shelter, or countless other causes or plights, WHY BACKPACKS?
For me, here’s the reason why.
Last night, Rob and I listened to a story from KETV’s Tony Cornett about the expected trial in the murder case of Brandon Wallace. The alleged shooter: 15 years old. His alleged accessories? 13 to 17 years old. Rob and I watched each boy’s mug shot appear on our screen, and I just shook my head. They look so young. THEY ARE so young.
What the hell happened?!?!? What happens in any case where young people, teenagers and young men and women, turn to crime and violence?
There are no easy answers, but how about DREAMING BIGGER. HAVING GOALS. MAKING PLANS. Where does that start? At home. For some, in church. AND IN SCHOOL.
Could it be that simple? Get kids pointed in the right direction EARLY. Make them EXCITED about going to school, learning, finding structure and vision for their futures.
Although it was many, MANY, MANY moons ago, I can still remember the excitement of my mom getting our school supply lists, heading to the store, and choosing all of our supplies. I’d get home, lay all of my new gear on my bed, and organize it into my new backpack. It made me so excited to go to school.
Let’s get kids excited. Let’s HELP THEM find that right track and stay on it.
Yes, money is tight, for all of us it seems. But I hope the next time you are at the store you check out the school supply bins; a quarter for a notebook. 50-cents for a brand new pack of crayons. 5-bucks goes a long way, and if a couple thousand people each chip in, IMAGINE the huge amount that adds up to.
This year, our community partners are doing even more. The Salvation Army, who has been KETV’s Backpack Drive partner for years, is again offering a text donation option; if you don’t want to hassle with buying supplies and dropping them off, you can simply text “OMAHA” to 80888 to make a $10 donation, or go online. Again, I know $10 isn’t an option for everyone, but perhaps it’s your sacrifice of your 2 weekly trips to the coffee shop, or that lunch out. What you are giving up, could mean so very much to a little boy or girl in our city.
In addition, Methodist Health Systems is offering free health screenings this year when these families pick up their backpacks. Another HUGE impact for children who may not see a doctor and get checked out otherwise. Rob and I sat down with Methodist’s Katina Gordon recently to talk about this year’s efforts. Check out her blog about it here!
KETV and the Salvation Army will be at Nebraska Crossing Outlets July 26 from 10am-4pm, and July 27 11am-4pm, collecting donations and backpacks. For every backpack or $10 donation, Nebraska Crossing Outlets will match it with a backpack of their own!
Our team will also be out at the Methodist Women’s Hospital on Friday, August 1 collecting donations. If you need any other motivation, I hear Rob is signing autographs FOR FREE that day!!!
Thumbs up for Rob! He’s kind of a big deal!!
We hope to see you there BEFORE you head back to school! THANK YOU for considering this, to make a difference in the lives of kiddos in our area!