TAMPA, Fla. – For most students, back to school means a backpack full of new pencils, crayons, notebooks, and other school supplies. But these very basic items are often out of reach to children facing, or at risk of, adverse childhood experiences such as poverty.
For the first time, Friends of the Children – Tampa Bay is hosting a Virtual Back to School Supply Drive on Amazon.com to help ensure the students we assist have the tools they need for a successful academic year.
By visiting www.FriendsTampaBay.org between now and August 4, supporters can purchase items from Friends of the Children Tampa Bay’s Wish List and have the items sent directly to the organization which will distribute the school supplies to the children we assist. What’s more, select Wish List items purchased through Amazon.com are eligible for the State of Florida’s annual Back to School Sales Tax Holiday if purchased from Monday, July 24 onward. Visit www.FloridaRevenue.com for a list of eligible, tax-free items.
“Each year, we partner with several organizations that generously supply our students with backpacks and other supplies required to start the school year, ” said Rick McClintock, executive director of Friends of the Children – Tampa Bay. “We’re so grateful for the support these organizations provide us. Unfortunately, the need is so great throughout our community that even with assistance, our students are lacking some basic items. This Amazon.com Back to School Supply Drive is a quick, easy, and affordable way for the public to support our efforts and contribute to our students’ success.”
At the close of the 2022-23 school year, 100% of students in the Friends – Tampa Bay program advanced to the next grade level, and nearly two dozen students completed Middle School and will enter 9th grade in August.
Friends of the Children – Tampa Bay is part of a national nonprofit organization which pairs paid, professional mentors (called Friends) with children facing adverse childhood experiences such as being in, or at risk of entering, the foster care system, poverty, abuse, neglect, or parental instability. The Friend walks alongside the student from kindergarten through high school graduation for 12 ½ years no matter what. Friends provide guidance, tutoring, and much-needed life skills to their student.
Founded in 2014, Friends of the Children– Tampa Bay’s long-term, “Power of One” model brings much-needed stability to children facing the greatest challenges; giving them the support they need to overcome obstacles, break the cycle of generational poverty and create a new story. It is estimated that for each $1 invested, Friends of the Children – Tampa Bay returns $7 back to the community.
Nationally, the Friends of the Children model, executed throughout the 32 chapters including Friends – Tampa Bay, produces life-changing results:
· 83% of youth with Friends graduate high school, while in some communities, graduation rates are as low as 27% for youth without a Friend;
· 93% of youth with Friends avoid the juvenile justice system, compared to 74% without Friends;
· 98% of youth with Friends advanced to the next grade in school
· 92% of program graduates go on to enroll in post-secondary education, serve our country, or become employed in a living wage job.
For more information about Friends of the Children – Tampa Bay visit www.friendstampabay.org or Follow us on Facebook or Instagram.