West Covina Unified students began the 2020-21 year on Aug. 17 equipped with new backpacks, school supplies and health kits, thanks to the District’s fourth annual Back to School Kickoff.
The Aug. 14 event was coordinated by the West Covina Unified Foster and Homeless Youth Center, which provides students who face severe hardships with opportunities to thrive on and off campus, and the Kiwanis Club of West Covina, which oversees the donations.
Due to public health guidelines prompted by COVID-19, this year’s donation was a drive-through event, with families pulling up in cars and selecting backpacks based on their child’s grade level. Kiwanis Club representatives alongside District personnel, including Superintendent Dr. Charles D. Hinman, wore face masks while distributing supplies.
“It was great to see our families again; it’s important for the West Covina community to know that the Family Resource Center is ready to serve them, especially in these unprecedented times,” Foster and Homeless Youth Liaison Ana Gutierrez said. “We had to adapt the event, which usually includes a resource fair, so communication is vital for the success of the school year.”
The Kiwanis Club coordinated the backpack donations, purchasing school items through a Kiwanis CNH District grant, and assistance from the Faith Community and ONE&ALL churches.
“This is a very important event for us. We enjoy a great partnership with West Covina Unified,” Kiwanis West Covina board member Brad Manning said. “We miss meeting all the families while enjoying a back-to-school breakfast and seeing the kids on the playground, but safety is always our number one concern. We wish all of our students a great school year.”
The Foster and Homeless Youth Center opened in 2016, supporting students by removing barriers to learning, and coordinating services in areas where there is need for additional resources. The center helps provide school uniforms for students and assists in providing housing referrals for families.
“The Foster and Homeless Youth Center is a compassionate, indispensable lifeline for our students and families in need,” Dr. Hinman said. “It is more than just providing school supplies; we want to provide every student an opportunity to learn, to prepare for their future and be a part of our community. Thank you to our West Covina Unified staff and Kiwanis for their commitment to supporting our students.”