Many students begin the new school year without the proper supplies. Some former and current University of Rochester students formed a non-profit organization to make sure kids have what they need in order to succeed.
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"I think it's pretty cool stuff that can help me with my classes."
Students at the Wilson Foundation Academy now have the supplies they need for a successful school year. Many of them arrived for the first day of class with no supplies at all, simply because their families couldn't afford them.
"Like pencils, pens, folders, notebooks like that kind of stuff, very important things,” said Yefire Harley, 6th grader.
Not all students fall into that category. Many of them show up for school under-equipped.
"I went shopping but I didn't get enough stuff. So when Miss Collins brought me here she found this sexy bookbag. A lot of this stuff was in it like this and I want to be using this, this is helpful,” said Charles Slocum, 8th grader.
Pack-4-Success is the work of Pittsford native Emily Cohen and her brother Matthew, a school teacher in Baltimore. Both are U of R graduates. Following her college graduation, Emily spent two years in Atlanta with Teach for America. She says Pack-4-Success is her way of giving back to the community.
"I thought what did I need most as a teacher and it was supplies. It's the stress of having to deal with what students need in order to succeed in school. So I thought if I could alleviate some of that stress from teachers moving forward then I would be able to help," Emily said.
Christopher Young, a current U of R graduate student, decided to joined Pack-4-Success after student teaching at Wilson Foundation.
"We went into the community and talked to students and asked them, ‘what are the most important school supplies that you need in order to be successful at school?’ That's what kind of catalyzed this even bigger donation cycle this year so we were really excited about that," said Young.
Pack-4-Success brought in $2,500 in donations this year. That provided 200 fully packed backpacks for 200 students at the Wilson Foundation Academy and Young Women's College Prep Charter School.