We cannot adequately express our gratitude to the employees of St. Joseph’s Westgate Medical Center in Glendale. They organized a backpack drive to ensure the children of Live and Learn AZ (a non-profit organization for women) clients have the supplies they need for the 2018-2019 school year. Children who grow up in poverty often lack access to a quality education, which is one of the leading forces behind the cycle of generational poverty. When members of our larger community, like the employees of St. Joseph’s, step in to mitigate these forces, they help put an end to the cycle of generational poverty through women’s education and empowerment.
Organizing the Drive
During July, Westgate employees raised money and gathered donations to ensure that every child of a Live and Learn client received the back-to-school supplies they needed before school starts. Westgate employee Stephanie Kern organized the effort, which included recruiting employee volunteers, hosting bake sale fundraisers, and collecting in-kind donations. Employees went so far as to learn the specific needs and personal preferences of the children to make sure each child received supplies tailored to their tastes. Then, they carefully packed each backpack with supplies.
The children picked-up their backpacks the last week of July. Maria, a Westgate employee, was unexpectedly emotional when she saw the kids receive their supplies.
“I usually can contain my emotions, but this really moved me. Thank you so much for telling us about this organization. It is better to give than to receive. The look on those kids’ faces was priceless. […] This has really moved me to want to do more.”
A Real Difference
The Westgate employees’ efforts made a real difference to the children. Their faces lit up when they received their backpacks and saw the supplies inside. Samai, a middle-schooler, adores K-Pop (Korean pop music). One employee volunteer special ordered a K-Pop themed backpack for her. It was an overwhelming act of kindness for a girl who is not accustomed to having the supplies she needs for school, let alone brand-new, K-Pop themed supplies. Samai later explained to her mother, “I had to hold my emotions because I wanted to scream when I saw my backpack!”
Abigail , a Live & Learn client, told our Program Manager, “This was such a blessing to our family!!! We are so grateful to the [Westgate employees], who were amazing.”
Low-Income Students and School Supplies
Through their generosity, employees of St. Joseph’s Westgate Medical Center made a significant difference in our community. Children who grow up in poverty often attend high-poverty schools and have limited lifetime educational attainment compared to their more affluent peers (https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012006.pdf).