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 Biggest Year Ever for Drive for Success

Through the Drive for Success Campaign in July and early August, the San Diego County Office of Education along with community and corporate volunteers collected more school supplies for homeless students than ever before.

Donations included:

  • 4,115 Backpacks
  • 1,976 Binders
  • 23,712 Color Pencils
  • 52,080 Crayons
  • 7,392 Erasers
  • 7,642 Glue Sticks
  • 3, 952 Highlighters
  • 1,976 Index Cards
  • 13,760 Markers
  • 3,696 Packs of Paper
  • 47,904 Pens
  • 93,264 Pencils
  • 1,720 Pencil Sharpeners
  • 1,720 Pencil Boxes or Pouches
  • 1,720 Rulers
  • 1,720 Scissors
  • 7,992 Spiral Notebooks

Volunteers that ranged in age from 5 to 60 cheerfully sorted the supplies and stuffed them into backpacks, which will go to students through homeless liaisons at school districts throughout the county. The youngest volunteer and donor was Jolie Ludington, a 5-year-old who brought 10 backpacks full of supplies that she collected instead of gifts for herself.

More than 20,000 school-aged children in San Diego County identified their family as being homeless during the 2012-13 school year. Homeless, as defined by the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, doesn't just mean students living on the streets, but anybody who lacks "a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence." That would include families who are living in trailers, bunking with relatives because of losing their home, or living in substandard conditions.

"Thank you very much for this backpack and school supplies gift," a student in the Sweetwater Union High School District said in a letter to the district's homeless liaison. "This is one less thing my mom has to worry about, and that makes me feel better."

The National Center on Family Homelessness reports that homeless children are eight times more likely to be asked to repeat a grade, three times more likely to be placed in special education classes, and twice as likely to score below average on standardized tests. These students face a range of problems regarding schooling, from having the necessary school supplies to finding a quiet place to study.

The six-week campaign included drop-off spots throughout the county at a variety of locations, including all California Coast Credit Union branches.

In addition to funding provided by the California Department of Education, supplies were generated by many donors, partners and sponsors including:

  • California Coast Credit Union
  • The City of Chula Vista
  • The County of San Diego Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD)
  • The County of San Diego Juvenile Probation Department
  • Congregation Beth Israel
  • Eli Lilly & Company
  • Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.
  • Macy's
  • Sustainable Surplus Exchange
  • The United Way of San Diego County
  • The WD-40 Company
  • Vistage International
  • Youth Community Service Project Contributors:
    • Olivia Bailow
    • Julia Bemicker
    • Jolie Ludington
    • Lauren Remish


Photo: Jolie Ludington, 5-years-old, with the backpacks full of school supplies that she donated to the Drive for Success campaign.