Lend a Hand

Back-to-school resource fair giving students a chance to succeed

Succeeding in school takes more than attending classes and a willingness to study; having the proper tools and supplies is essential for any student, from kindergarten to doctoral studies.

In an effort to provide necessities for those within the Amphitheater School District community who may not be able to on their own, the Amphi Foundation is hosting a back-to-school resource fair at the volunteer-operated, donation-driven Amphi Foundation Clothing Bank, located at 3335 N. Stone Ave, from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday, Aug. 6.

"We want to prepare the kids and equip them so that they can go to school with what they need and be prepared to learn," said Leah Noreng, executive director of the foundation. "When you have kids coming to school with empty bellies and holes in their socks and shoes, they're not prepared to learn. We want to make sure they have what they need to take on learning life skills and getting an education."

Students in-need will have the opportunity to pick out new socks and underwear, jeans, several T-shirts, a backpack and more. The kids will also receive hygiene supplies courtesy of a partnership with St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church.

New clothes and personal hygiene effects are a huge benefit, but the foundation is giving the kids free haircuts of Gadabout Salon. Additionally, Noreng said there are plans to possibly include mobile immunization, representatives from The Community Food Bank, school physical coupons from Southern Arizona Urgent Care and more.

Last year the foundation was able to give away more than 12,000 items of clothing, and has plans to continue to supply those in need. To reach that goal, the foundation is looking for help from the community—and some have already answered the call. The Amphitheater High School class of 1966 raised a donation of $1,066 cash and clothing for the clothing bank in June.

Though the ball has begun to roll, the foundation is always looking for help and more donations and contributions.

Any donations of clean underwear and socks or clothing in good condition can be dropped off at any Amphitheater school's main office—just tell the staff it's for the clothing bank. If finding a school is a problem or one is not nearby, the foundation can make arrangements for a pickup, which can be done by calling (520) 696-5147.

While every size of clothing is accepted and welcome, Noreng said that there is a high need for pants for young boys, as "they run holes through everything." Additionally, socks for children as young as kindergarten are desired, as many donations end up as adult sizes.

The resource fair is just one example of the efforts of the foundation to turn the clothing bank into an institution even more beneficial to the community—a resource center. By creating partnerships with different organizations and creating a community in which giving back is a priority, Noreng said she hopes the clothing bank can continue to make a difference in the lives of so many students.

"I think it's important to invest in our community because these children are our future leaders," she said. "If we don't give them the best shot that they possibly can at being successful in the future then we are failing ourselves, and we are failing them. It's really important to give our children all of the resources they possibly can so that they can give the education they deserve."

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