This year, Samsonite donated 250 High Sierra back-to-school backpacks to Parents Engaged in Education – to go towards their initiative of supporting Toronto-area students in need. We asked them to share their story with our readers…
If you would like to see how you can help, please visit www.parentsengagedineducation.ca
What We’re All About
Parents Engaged in Education is a charity in Ontario, established five years ago to provide free resources and skill building opportunities to parents in order that they can better support their children’s education and mental health. In addition, we work with parent leaders in school councils to provide training on how to work effectively with school administrators to improve the educational experience of every child in the school.
For the past three years, we have worked on a grassroots project “Engage Scarborough” which provided workshops for parents/families and great mentorship opportunities for students in at risk communities.
Stepping up During Covid-19
When COVID-19 closed schools in March, Parents Engaged in Education stepped up immediately to support children/youth in marginalized communities to provide ‘Learn at Home Kits” to support not only their learning, but to provide activities, art materials and books to support their mental health.
The rollout of these kits in early April put 200 of these kits into shelters and food banks in Toronto. As we worked in partnership with the Toronto COVID-19 partnership table, we realized the need was much greater than we had even imagined.
We are proud to say that we have now served 2,000 students with ‘Learn at Home Kits’. We have distributed these kits by working with other charities and service providers who were able to get them to children/youth in most need.
What is Done With Our Back-to-School Donations
This project would not be possible without the great partnerships we have formed with donors, like Samsonite. The in-kind donations have totalled almost $325,000. which has made such a difference for children in need during this most difficult time. As children/youth return to school, the 250 high quality backpacks donated by Samsonite will be filled with school supplies to support them as each child will need their own supplies and cannot count on shared classrooms supplies as they have in the past.
Help Support Canada’s First Education Bank
Through this project, we have learned that the issue of equality for children in low income communities cannot be solved by handing out one “kit”, they need ongoing support.
To address the needs we have identified, we are establishing a Family Service Centre in the high needs area of East Scarborough. This centre will feature two important supports; a state-of-art technology room where students will be able to work, train and be mentored virtually by leading business and technology leaders, as well as having THE FIRST IN CANADA EDUCATION BANK.
The Education Bank will operate similar to a food bank, except instead of feeding their bodies, it will help “feed” their minds and spirits. This centre will be stocked with learning materials, backpacks, art supplies, learning games, creative materials and amenities for teens to support their self-care.
Thanks to partners, like Samsonite, we are building a centre where children/youth will be supported to reach their full potential.
We are excited that Samsonite has joined us to DREAM BIG Because Together We Can Do More!!!