For many children the new school year means new jeans, freshly sharpened pencils, crisp binders, and a cool new backpack. Unfortunately, with more than 16 million U.S. children living below the poverty line, reality is very different. Budgets are tight and parents often must focus on basic needs, like shelter and food. This leaves little left for “extras” like new school supplies, and children have to make do without the tools they need to learn and succeed.
Kids without school supplies have lower attendance rates and are more likely to do poorly — leading to higher dropout rates than other students. To fill the gaps, teachers often use their own money to buy supplies, spending on average $1,000 a year of their own money.
Last Thursday, we partnered with the San Francisco 49ers and innovative new school supply company, Yoobi, on two events to help make the back-to-school season a little brighter for underserved Bay Area students and teachers.
Giving Back to Schools Volunteer Event
In the morning, nearly 50 LS&Co. employee volunteers packed 1,500 Levi’s® backpacks with back-to-school items. The event was held prior to a pep rally celebrating the inaugural home opener at Levi’s Stadium, so a host of 49ers VIPs joined the fun, including 49ers employees, alumni and player spouses. Football greats Donovan McNabb and Mark Malone, also lent a hand prior to an on-site live broadcast of their NBC Sports Radio show, “Under Center.”
Three Bay Area schools benefitted from the work of our volunteers. All students received a backpack filled with supplies, while their teachers received a Yoobi classroom pack filled with a year’s worth of back-to-school essentials. Additionally, the schools, which each have Teach For America (TFA) alumni and corps members, each received a $1,000 grant, and TFA was awarded a $5,000 grant. Now that’s giving back in style!
“The school supplies are a major help to us both during and after school,” said Rocio Urena, a third grade teacher at LUCHA in San Jose. “It’s so nice to know that every day my students will have what they need to learn in my classroom, and also that they can take the supplies home with them at the end of the day to help there too.”
Outfitting Teachers for Back to School
In the evening, 53 teachers from the recipient schools visited our Market Street store where they received a new back-to-school look. In addition to the stylists working on the floor that day, more than 20 Levi’s® stylists drove in from other Levi’s locations in Northern California, volunteering to help the teachers select the perfect outfit.
Crystal Carrillo, a kindergarten teacher at Carver Elementary in Bayview was having a great time. “This was so fun and I felt pampered,” she said. “The stylists listened to what I wanted and helped me find something comfortable that also made me feel good.”
“What an awesome opportunity to appreciate what teachers do by giving them the opportunity to spend a little time on themselves,” said TFA executive director Eric Scroggins of the event. “Clothing matters. It says something about who you are and gives you confidence — that’s confidence that the teachers here today will be passing along to their students.”
Delivering Smiles and Backpacks to Bayview
Finally, on Monday, we had the opportunity to deliver some backpacks in person, when we loaded up the Yoobi bus and drove to Carver Elementary School in Bayview. Following a brief presentation by Yoobi CEO, Ido Leffler and LS&Co.’s community affairs team, one lucky second grade classroom got to take a peek at some of the Yoobi goodies that they’ll use throughout the year.
Here are a few photos from the events: