The 2013 Back to School Extravaganza

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Six years ago, social workers in the Northwest Broward area decided to do something for the children from needy families before starting a new school year.

Liliana Pardo-Posse, one of the social workers says, “We knew there were a lot of families in the region who were struggling. We tried to do what we could to help them. We wanted the kids to feel good about themselves as they went to school. Ours was a small group, but we ended up providing backpacks with school supplies to children from about 35 families that year.”

The initiative started to gain popularity throughout the county by word of mouth. With more sponsors getting involved, the number of disadvantaged children who start the school year with new backpacks and new school supplies also started to grow.

Flash forward to 2013 and approximately 5,500 students from Broward County Schools will be the recipients of new school supplies at the “2013 Back to School Extravaganza” which will be held on August 10 at the BB & T Center in Sunrise. The beneficiaries are children who have been screened and referred by school social workers based on their needs.

“We have a family with nine kids, a few with five,” says Jodi Samson, a school social worker. “This is our first district-wide distribution of supplies. We never had so many new shoes to give out; that is something we are really happy about.”

Samson is also says the increase in the number of needy students is not surprising. “I know there are more out there. We are happy to be able to help them. The economy seems to be improving, and hopefully, we will be able to start to see the numbers go down.”

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This event is made possible thanks to the efforts of the Children’s Services Council of Broward County and the Broward County School Board, along with organizations such as Neighbors4Neighbors, COMCAST, Sun Sentinel, In Jacob’s Shoes, Running with Sole and Hands on Broward. School social workers also lent a hand.

According to Pardo-Posse, the families are from cities such as Deerfield Beach, Lauderhill, Hallandale Beach, Miramar and Pompano Beach. She also says “We have quite a few kids from Coral Springs, as well. We are glad that we are able to make a difference in their lives. Maybe one day, the kids won’t need us anymore.”

Keller Williams Partners Agents also just completed a Backpack drive in cooperation with the Broward Outreach center. Their goal was to provide 400 backpacks and Keller Williams agents were able to assist with 64 of the 400.

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