“We feel that one of the major keys to breaking the cycle of homelessness is getting a good education,” said Cliff Kinsey, the network’s CEO.
The nonprofit has been collecting new book bags and school supplies to distribute to the children Sunday during its Back 2 School Day of Readiness event.
“It’s like Christmas for these kids,” Kinsey said. “The kids will get their new book bags [with school supplies]. That’ll be the highlight of the day. They’re also going to get medical screenings. We’re going to give them hearing and vision tests. We’re going to give them free haircuts. We’re going to have face painting for the kids. We’re going to have popcorn machines and probably snow-cones. Really it’s just going to be a fun, stress-free day for them outside of their shelter or group home environment getting ready for school.”
He said the organization works with 134 different shelters and group homes in 21 metro Atlanta counties and will provide more than 4,000 children with a new book bag and school supplies over the course of the school year.
“We’re going to need volunteers on Friday [and Saturday] to help sort the book bags and school supplies that we’ve collected,” Kinsey said.
Volunteers will meet at a rented office space at 20 Mansell Court East, Suite 300, in Roswell. Help is needed Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. until the work is completed, Kinsey said. No advanced notice is needed for individuals to volunteer, but large groups are asked to notify the nonprofit ahead of time.
Kinsey said donated items will also be accepted at the location Thursday through Saturday. Items that are most in need are book bags for older kids, college-ruled and wide-ruled loose-leaf notebook paper, composition books and calculators, he said. Metro Atlanta Kroger stores are also accepting donations through Saturday.
“We’ll take any and all new school supplies,” Kinsey said.
For the Day of Readiness event, the nonprofit is also in need of volunteers who will be able to give free haircuts to the children. In addition to the Back 2 School program, Children’s Restoration Network organizes weekly tutoring sessions throughout the school year and manages a scholarship to help homeless students attend college or technical school. Kinsey said the network welcomes those interested in tutoring or donating to the scholarship fund.