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Washington-McKinley School & Enchanted Backpack Join Forces

Dawnielle Smith, Assistant Principal at Chicago Heights School District 170's Washington-McKinley School, has secured a partnership with the Enchanted Backpack organization to provide much-needed supplies and materials to the students of the school.

Enchanted Backpack is a Chicago-based charitable organization started by the Lavin and Bernick families. It serves under-resourced elementary and middle schools and child-focused organizations in the Chicagoland area, and recently visited Washington-McKinley to make its first delivery of 2019.

"Our partnership with Enchanted Backpack began when I received information about the organization and completed and submitted a form that outlined our student demographics," Smith explained.

"When I examined the Enchanted Backpack website I discovered an organization that has thoroughly researched school and classroom needs and seeks to provide items that benefit students while securing the partnership of classroom teachers and staff in achieving a positive and successful learning experience."

Smith was excited to secure the assistance that provides a fantastic variety of supplies and materials to teachers and students.

"I am so grateful for the referral to an organization that provides not only for our wonderful students but also our amazing staff."

"Enchanted Backpack even personalized the process by presenting every teacher a pouch with an inspirational saying and a letter explaining the materials on the way."

Enchanted Backpack believes that all children deserve to have the tools they need to learn and excel and that all teachers deserve to have the support and materials to make their classrooms exciting learning centers.

The mission of Enchanted Backpack is to create a real difference in the lives of students and teachers by reinforcing fundamental values and supporting the growth of better educated, principle-driven individuals.

The organization works with teachers and principals to stock classrooms with learning tools ranging from 25 core classroom supplies, i.e., pencils, crayons, paper, notebooks, and binders, to a large number of books to create or supplement classroom libraries. By providing these materials, along with other items including athletic and recreational equipment, and even various articles of clothing, the organization seeks to establish a real difference in the lives of students and teachers.

Lanie Young, who is working alongside Smith as the program's teacher/staff liaison acknowledged the positive and beneficial aspects of the Enchanted Backpack initiative.

"Once Miss Smith found this amazing organization that provides teachers with supplies to use in the classroom we met with Hilary Fash, a representative of the Enchanted Backpack organization, who helped our school secure the supplies and materials."

"Fash explained that Enchanted Backpack was started because the daughter of the organization's founder was a teacher and it distressed him to see her use funds of her own to provide materials for her classroom. Now we at Washington-McKinley School are blessed to have secured the help of an organization that provides our teachers with supplies, books, and materials for every grade level."

Enchanted Backpack recognizes that in many schools, teachers are expected to achieve outstanding results in classrooms that are under-resourced for students who often lack some of the basics that would make them feel proud, comfortable and ready to learn. As a result, far too many teachers are forced to reach into their own pockets to rectify this situation.

The organization believes that in an environment of constrained budgets, decaying physical facilities, and the considerable need for additional resources, our society is in danger of destroying hope and motivation and losing a generation of students critical to our future and of losing the dedicated teachers who are an essential component of a successful educational environment.

"I cannot speak highly enough about the Enchanted Backpack organization and of its partnership with our school," said Washington-McKinley Principal Dr. Gretchen Sutherland.

"Enchanted Backpack's mission reflects a true understanding of the difficulties faced by so many schools and service entities in our area," she continued.

"Securing the organization's assistance in ameliorating those difficulties speaks volumes about its wonderful philanthropic endeavors."