One of my first impressions when I joined Leander ISD last fall was the level of support our students receive by our entire community. I am so proud to see how full the stands are at every game, match and event — by parents and community members alike.
And at each event, the people I talk to are there because they are excited to support our students, to give them every opportunity and resource to succeed.
This same support was on display once again at our annual Backpack Attack on Saturday, Aug. 5. The event, held in partnership with Hill Country Bible Church-Northwest (HCBC) and supported by several community and LISD organizations, provides students in need with new backpacks and basic school supplies ahead of the new school year.
More than 1,600 prekindergarten through eighth grade students received backpacks this year, thanks to generous donations by HCBC and For the Children. They also provided snacks, bounce houses, face painting and scores of volunteers to make it a fun, family-friendly event.
Several other community partners joined in the effort to prepare our families for a successful school year. The Cedar Park Leander Lion’s Club supplied free eye screenings; the Leander ISD Educational Excellence Foundation (LEEF) let kids pick out a free book to take home; and Chick-fil-A, Smile Generation and Austin Community College were on-hand, as well.
District staff set up tables to speak with parents about programs they may qualify for, like free and reduced lunch through our Child Nutrition Services, Parents as Teachers for prenatal through preschool care, Pre-K Communities, Counseling Services, Adult Education and College and Career Pathways. Additionally, the PTA Clothes Closet opened during the event and provided free, new and gently used clothing to more than 500 children.
A week before the event, Hill Country Ministries and Cedar Park Nissan held a “stuff the truck” fundraiser with several of our high schools competing to collect new tennis shoes and monetary donations. These donations supplied their Laces for Leander event, coinciding with Backpack Attack, to provide new school shoes for 600 LISD students.
Each of these moving parts requires many hours of volunteer work, donations from across our district and beyond and numerous smiling faces on that Saturday morning. And it is all for the same great cause: to empower LISD students and families with the tools they need to succeed this school year.
As one of our volunteers put it, “It’s all worth it, when something as small as a new backpack, or pack of pencils, or book, or pair of sneakers, can instantly light up a child’s face and get him excited about going back to school.”
It is inspiring to witness our community’s focus on removing those barriers to learning and ensuring that every single student in our area has a path to reaching his or her potential. Once again, it makes me excited to start the 2017-18 school year, and I am energized knowing our community will be with us, shoulder-to-shoulder, cheering on our future generations and leading them to a bright future.