Kids receive free backpacks, supplies for new school year

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published September 25, 2013

 State Rep. Marilyn Lane (D-Fraser) shows the kids what they can find in their new coloring books.

State Rep. Marilyn Lane (D-Fraser) shows the kids what they can find in their new coloring books.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

A group of young students at Seminole Academy in Mount Clemens were happily surprised when they left class on Sept. 16 to find an assortment of backpacks strewn across a table.

State Rep. Marilyn Lane (D-Fraser) jumpstarted the event with the help of AT&T Pioneers, a group of retirees and local employees who go around the state and volunteer in community events.

The students walked into a room and were allowed to pick whatever backpack they wanted, with an assortment of colors available. The backpacks contained school supplies such as pencils, folders and paper, in addition to other items like coloring books. Then, everyone sat down for a bit and colored together, smiles glowing around the room.

“The ability to want to learn and have the supplies to learn with is key for the children’s success,” Lane said. “Maybe so many people do not even realize the basics for what children need to be successful, so we’re just glad that we can come together and put these supplies in the hands of the children.”

Lane sat down with the children and asked them to point out different things in their coloring books, helping teach them while also having fun.

“It’s like Christmas,” said Jan Hooks, principal of Seminole Academy. Lane contacted the school to see if they would be interested, and Hooks embraced the opportunity because it was a benefit to many students. “The children are so excited, and they don’t have all the supplies for school. This is a great way for them to get what they need and supplement their education, and make them feel very important.”

It was the work of both Lane and AT&T that made the event, and other events around the state, possible in the first place.

“We work closely with Rep. Lane with all matters going on in her district, and so she helped get us in touch with schools that needed it most,” said Lori Doughty, regional director of external affairs for AT&T.

In the end, it’s all about the kids and giving them things that many people take for granted on a daily basis.

“More than ever now with the challenges the state is placing on a lot of the schools with budgetary (cuts), we need to stay real close to what their needs are, what’s happening and consolidation,” Lane said. “My daughter is a teacher, so education is very, very important to me and the success of our future because it’s in the hands of our children. They’re our future.”