Olivia started her first day of fourth grade a few days late. The week prior, she moved in with her aunt more than two hours from home. The summer had been rough. While trying to cope with her father’s death and her mother’s depression, little thought was put into the upcoming school year. Olivia entered her new school with a notebook and a few pencils in her backpack. She sat down in her first class and the teacher instructed the students to pull out a blue or black ink pen—she didn’t have one. The same thing repeated throughout the day—no colored pencils, no highlighter, no graph paper. She felt humiliated. Olivia told the front office she was feeling ill and asked to call her aunt to pick her up. This was not the fresh start she had hoped for.
Unfortunately, Olivia’s story is not unique. Many children will be in need this school year.
Canopy Children’s Solutions (Canopy) is collecting school supplies to help children like Olivia prepare for a new school year. Canopy serves more than 5,000 children across the state each year, some receiving help following traumatic events or for debilitating challenges.
Canopy is the state’s most comprehensive provider of children’s behavioral health, educational and social service solutions serving all 82 Mississippi counties. The children Canopy serves struggle with ADHD, trauma, behavioral health challenges, autism, while some are foster children or are living in a crisis shelter following neglect or abuse. In addition to meeting the emotional needs of the children and families it serves, Canopy also tries to help meet the physical needs which can put added strain on an already stressful situation.
“Preparing children to go back to school can be a very stressful and costly time, particularly for families already dealing with other challenges,” said Canopy Child & Family Advocate Tonja Smith. “Having supplies donated helps not only the kids, but also takes the burden off parents who live on small budgets. We want to empower our youth to be successful in school by meeting their emotional and physical needs. Poverty should never be a barrier to learning.”
Donations can be dropped off at Canopy locations across the state (listed below). You can also make purchases through our Amazon Wish List and donations will ship directly to Canopy.
Canopy offices and partnering organizations across the state will collect school supplies throughout July and August. Donations will benefit families in the local community. For more information about how you can help, or other ways to get involved, please contact Traci Grubb at 769-777-1000.