DALLAS, Texas — Each year, the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC) hosts the Back to School Drive at their facility where hundreds of school-aged kids get the opportunity to walk into a room and pick out the backpack of his/her choice. There’s usually a bookfair and various activities to generate excitement for the new school year. Given the circumstances caused by the current pandemic, the annual event didn’t go as planned. But it wasn’t canceled. DCAC decided to host a drive-thru event to distribute the backpacks to some of the kids who need it the most in the Dallas-Fort Worth community.
“We decided the best way to distribute the backpacks and supplies would be in a drive-through format,” said Sarah Burns, the Chief Marketing Officer at DCAC. “By the end of the day, we gave away over 600 backpacks,” she said. “Even though parents were wearing masks, you could just tell in their eyes how grateful they were.
DCAC staff and volunteers helped hand out the backpacks stuffed with school supplies as families and DCAC clients drove through the event. Regardless of what the school year will look like this year, every school kid will need school supplies. And DCAC is grateful to have the continued support of one of their presenting sponsors, City Electric Supply, to make these moments and these experiences possible for the kids.
“A couple of parents also had their kids with them, so it was fun to give the kids a few choices on backpack styles and to see them get excited. Those are things we take for granted — very basic tools that they need to do their schoolwork,” said Sarah. “CES is such a big part of making that possible.”
And while DCAC distributed less than the normal amount they usually distribute, they’re ready to give out more to those who will need them throughout the school year. Sarah is confident that when schools start back up, they’ll have plenty more to hand out.
“When kids are physically back in the building and teachers see them without the barriers of virtual learning, we expect a surge in new cases. The additional backpacks and school supplies will be on hand to distribute,” said Sarah.
Since 2016, City Electric Supply — through its social impact program CES CARES — has been a proud sponsoring partner of DCAC and their Back to School Drive. Over the last four years, CES has provided more than 6,500 backpacks and $200,000 in charitable contributions. The backpacks and school supplies go straight to the children at DCAC. Each backpack includes a motivational note written by a CES employee, inspiring them to have a great school year.
“CES Cares is committed to helping make a difference in these kids’ lives. Kids who’ve endured severe abuse and trauma. They deserve to feel uplifted and excited for the school year. And we’re proud to have a continuous role in making that happen,” said CES Cares Social Impact Manager Karen Gray. “The few minutes each employee dedicates to stuffing backpacks or writing notes make such a big difference in these kids’ spirit. We value that.”
“The support from CES helps us provide school-aged children with backpacks, supplies, uniforms, or even gift cards for the uniforms,” said Sarah. “I’m not sure this year we’d have been able to have a backpack drive of any sorts without having such a steady, dedicated partner. The fact that our clients can rely on CES to do this each year is huge for us.”
According to Sarah, having the event every year helps give parents stability – something they can count on.
“It helps them get through the harder parts of life because it’s just one less thing they have to worry about, especially during such a challenging time like the beginning of a new school year,” she said.
In 2020, DCAC has seen 8,000 child abuse cases so far. And while they’ve seen a drop in reports, it doesn’t mean the abuse has stopped. According to DCAC, around 73% of children won’t tell anyone that they’re facing abuse. Teachers and other adults are trained to spot abuse and are usually the ones to bring attention to potential cases. This means that with the pandemic and the implementation of virtual learning, the individuals trained to protect these children by noticing signs of abuse aren’t able to do so. So how can you help? Get trained to spot and report child abuse yourself.
“It’s important to help your community by learning to recognize and report child abuse. Be a safe adult in your community — wherever you live, work, and play. We offer training for free on our website. We need more adults trained in the signs of child abuse — no matter where they might live, especially during this time.”
The Dallas Advocacy Center (DCAC) is dedicated to improving the lives of children who’ve endured severe abuse in the Dallas county, and provides national leadership on child abuse issues. The annual Back to School Drive serves 1,500 kids with backpacks, school supplies, and two school uniforms. School-age children receive the services and their siblings receive the items, and then when new child abuse cases come in during the year, if there is a need for backpacks, school supplies, etc., then DCAC ensures that those kids get what they need, too.
Tagged with charity, City Electric Supply