Colorado State University’s annual School Is Cool drive is expanding this year to include older students and meet rapidly growing local needs, with initial surveys showing that an increased demand for supplies of 15 – 20 percent this year over last year.
In its 16th year, School Is Cool provides school supplies and backpacks to students in the Poudre School District. The supplies, which are grade-specific, are requested through school counselors and discretely distributed to students before classes begin. Since 1992, School is Cool has helped more than 14,500 children.
The Poudre School District reports that in the 2006-2007 school year, more than 6,000 elementary school and junior high students participated in the free or reduced lunch program, increasing from 4,100 in the 2005-2006 program.
"Last year, the program provided supplies to 1,753 students in 36 Poudre School District schools," said Dell Rae Moellenberg, a School is Cool committee member and volunteer. "However, evidence of a continued and broader need continues to emerge. Recent research shows that high school students struggle to afford papers and pens, and a recent report from the Fort Collins Coloradoan shows that childhood poverty trends in Fort Collins have doubled in the last five years – a staggering statistic."
Each spring PSD schools are surveyed for projected needs for the following fall. Current indications show more than 2,000 elementary and junior high students will need assistance. In addition, increasing reports of need in the PSD high schools has prompted the School Is Cool committee to expand the program by offering basic supplies to this population.
A donation of $20 sponsors a backpack full of grade-specific supplies for an elementary or junior high school student. Through a partnership with the Colorado State University Bookstore, School is Cool works closely with school supply vendors to obtain bulk prices, allowing the program to fill needs at a cost often lower than advertised sale prices.
Backpacks are filled with an average of 12 items, depending upon teacher requests for grade levels. Products include, varying by age, crayons, pencils, three-ring binders, paper and scissors.
A school supply list for each grade also is available through the School Is Cool committee or on the committee’s website at www.colostate.edu/schooliscool.
School Is Cool was founded by and is managed and organized by Colorado State University employees. The program is assisted by a grant from the Bohemian Foundation and donations from Norlarco Credit Union and the Colorado State University Bookstore.
The deadline for donations to fill backpacks for the 2007-2008 school year is Friday, August 3. However, donations are accepted year-round.
To contribute, send a check, payable to School is Cool, to Colorado State University Foundation, 502 University Services Center, Campus Delivery 9100, 601 Howes St., Fort Collins, CO 80523. On-line giving also is available at http://welcome.colostate.edu/index.asp?url=schooliscool. Additional information including grade-specific shopping lists and a donation form are available at www.colostate.edu.
For more details, contact Kathy Phifer at 491-6561 or Kathy.Phifer@colostate.edu or Dell Rae Moellenberg at 491-6009 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parents wanting to request a backpack must contact their student’s school directly.