The United Way of the U.S. Virgin Islands rolled out its ‘Bus Stop’ school supply delivery program to all public elementary schools territory-wide. School supply deliveries began with a caravan of volunteers and United Way team members making bus stops from school to school on Sept. 30 in the St. Croix District and on Oct. 2 in the St. Thomas-St. John District.
Elementary and K-8 model schools were furnished with yellow boxes resembling school buses filled with pre-packaged school supply kits for students in need. The kits consisted of a mixed variety of donated composition books, folders, pencils, crayons, markers, erasers, sharpeners and the like. The mission of the Stuff the Bus Program is to help alleviate the stress and financial burden on parents and guardians by providing students with the support of the learning tools needed for their academic success.
This year’s distribution method took on a broader reach with the addition of school supply “Bus Stops” to schools. Along with the standard “Stuff the Bus” request applications, an additional streamlined process has been implemented through a fostered relationship with the V.I. Department of Education and school administrators. This approach helps to ensure that, notwithstanding the traditional mass “Back to School Giveaway,” closer attention is taken to assisting children who may be reporting to school with little or no supplies.
The program seeks to allow a direct support channel to students through school administrators who are poised to assess critical needs through their constant communication with teachers and students.
“Studies show that children who are not prepared in school may not be successful in the classroom, and early childhood success in school ultimately leads to higher graduation rates. At the United Way, we are committed to supporting our local students by providing support to fill in the gaps where deficiencies can occur due to economic hardships among families. We are also committed to assisting teachers because we know that classroom supplies can be limited,” said Vinod P. Dadlani, president/CEO.
The United Way is committed to the educational success of all early learners. “It takes a village, so we ask our village, community partners and volunteers to continue to support this program so that it can be expanded year over year and become more robust,” said Dadlani.
School supply requests can be made by individuals and school administrators by emailing [email protected] or by completing a Stuff the Bus Application request form at the local United Way USVI, St. Thomas-St. John or St. Croix offices. Inquiries can be made by calling 774-3185.