Daily Point of Light # 1935 Jul 4, 2001

The “Back to School with Fort Worth Independent School District (ISD) School Supply Drive” is an annual Affirmative Action Program sponsored by the Federal Women’s Program and staff sponsors at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell. Since the program began in 1996, staff have sponsored more than 450 children and donated more than 500 books. The purpose of the school supply drive is to ensure that local community children are provided with the necessary tools – pens, pencils, paper, books, etc., to succeed in school.

In an effort to accomplish the goal of ensuring a future of qualified and culturally diverse workforce, the Federal Women’s Program, sought ways to promote literacy and education readiness for children in the local school system. The Fort Worth Independent School District serves children of various racial, ethnic, and socio-economical backgrounds, including Eastern European refugee and migrant worker communities. This fact presents numerous challenges to the school system and the community at-large. It became apparent tot eh Carswell staff that children cannot hope to succeed in school unless they are provided the needed tools. Additionally, children without the needed supplies often feel isolated from other children, and this isolation further inhibits their ability to learn and succeed in their school careers.

In 1996, the Federal Women’s Program, identified a need for a school supplies assistance program for economically disadvantaged children. The “Back to School with Fort Worth ISD Annual School Supply Drive” was developed to fill that need.

Each year with the assistance of the Fort Worth Parks and Community Service Board, needy children are identified and Carswell staff sponsor these children. Staff is provided a list of grade-appropriate school supplies and packages are collected during the month of August. All school supplies collected during the drive are donated to the Fort Worth Parks and Community Service Board for distribution to children throughout the city. During the past five years, this program has helped approximately 450 children.

In addition to the need for school supplies, the Federal Women’s Program identified a need for primary and elementary grade level reading material at local community centers throughout the city. The City of Forth Worth has Head Start and After-School Literacy Programs at their various community centers. In 1999, the FMC Carswell Book Bonanza Program was implemented as an extension of the school supply drive. FMC Carswell staff collected nearly 500 new and gently used children’s books. These books were donated to the Community Service Board for distribution to the community centers.

The program has grown each year with more than 100 children “adopted” for the 2000-2001 school year. The Federal Women’s Program Manager continues to receive phone calls of thanks and appreciation from staff at the Fort Worth Parks and Community Service Board. These staff are amazed at the generosity of FMC Carswell’s staff. The school supply packets and books provide a much needed relief to local school teachers who continually seek assistance for the economically disadvantaged children of their school district.