It’s a familiar feeling: the calendar turning towards a new school year and the potential it brings for children as they grow and explore new interests. Many of us are experiencing a similar need for a return to structure and consistency as we adjust to navigating our ‘new normal’.
Whether it’s an impending return to the office or a return to the classroom, perhaps we’ll have a different perspective during this chapter. Perhaps we’ll share a greater appreciation for the little interactions and shared humanity we have along the way. We can only imagine how good it will feel for children to see their friends again at school and experience the simple joys of being kids together.
Yet we are also compelled to recognize that the return to school has an outsized importance for the communities we’re supporting via Daymaker. The pandemic exacerbated conditions that were already stark: in 2017, single parents were raising one in every three kids across the nation — and single-parent households were 4.5 times more likely than married households to live in poverty. More recent studies suggest that Black and Hispanic students were 2x more likely to lack live access to a teacher during the previous school year.
School can literally be a life-giving environment; it is often a safe place to exist physically and a source of consistent meals for children. Dozens of the nonprofits we serve pivoted their services during the shutdown to become community food centers, ensuring that kids and families had access to nutrition. For example, Friends of the Children San Francisco kickstarted a food distribution program that allowed mentors to establish relationships with students' guardians, caretakers, and siblings when they deliver groceries to students' homes. In addition to food distribution, Zaman International provided wifi to families, created an open working space in their Hope for Humanity Center, and provided more flexible course offerings for their vocational students.
Now, as schools return, our hope is that Back-to-School 2021 will mark more than just the next phase of a worn-out cycle where kids in under-served communities are at a resource disadvantage from the very first day of school. We believe in the emergence of a new chapter, in which we collectively focus on the equitable distribution of resources and possibilities like never before.
Daymaker has worked with nonprofit partners to curate items that enable possibilities for the children we're serving. In addition to Back-to-School staples, donors can share:
- Outdoor game items that encourage spontaneity and shared play
- Hardcover books tailored to the interests of unique children
- STEAM kits from Brown Toy Box that prioritize cultural pride and confidence in a way that makes learning fun for ALL children, which come once a month during the fall to ensure that inspiration and excitement continues beyond the initial campaign.
There is a new chapter emerging in the story we are collectively authoring. And while the previous chapter included challenges and pain, it also made space for a new narrative to emerge. If we’re guided by our hearts, we can create stories of mutual care and collaboration, and joy for children nationwide. We hope this campaign will play a small role towards that emerging reality, and we thank you for joining us.
Source for the single-parent household stat: https://www.aecf.org/resources/2019-kids-count-data-book#Economic Well-BeingSource for the 2x stat: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/covid-19-and-learning-loss-disparities-grow-and-students-need-help