In an effort to help students succeed in school, the Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County is starting its annual Back School Drive.
The drive collects supplies to give to Denton County children who have experienced abuse.
“They don’t need the extra stress of figuring out back to school,” said Amy Ferdinando, director of development. “Our goal is to make sure these kids have what they need to be successful.”
Ferdinando said the Back to School program has been growing since its inception in 2007. She said the center served 341 children and 150 families last year, a 204-percent increase from 2016. This year the center projects serving 375 children and 165 families.
“The last few years show significant growth in the number of families who requested assistance, and while we moderately estimate a 10-percent growth in our family assistance programs, we need to be ready for more,” Ferdinando said. “Success in school is one of many priorities at the advocacy center, and with this assistance we will be able to provide a bright future.”
Those who want to give to the program can purchase items from an Amazon charity list and have supplies shipped directly to the office, give a monetary donation or drop off items at the center.
Ferdinando said backpacks and sneakers in men’s and women’s sizes are the most needed items. Other needs include lunch boxes, USB drives, headphones, sanitary wipes and hygiene kits.
The advocacy center coordinates the investigation and prosecution of severe child abuse cases for law enforcement, Child Protective Services and the district attorney’s office. When a victim first visits the center, he or she is connected with a family advocate who talks through what’s going to happen next and how they can move forward.
Ferdinando said the drive also serves as a way to build a bridge between the advocacy center and the families to encourage them to continue to use their services. She said the families express their gratitude for the donated supplies because it takes one more thing off their plate.
“If we can alleviate that need for a family so they can focus on healing, we will do that,” Ferdinando said.
Items for the drive will be collected until July 26.