Backpack Blessings

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Remember the excitement of the first day of school? Remember how proudly you shouldered your new backpack and marched into school?

International children now have the same feeling after they visit the Knox County Schools Welcome Center, where new families enroll their children in school throughout the year. Every child receives a well-stocked backpack, readying them for that first day in their new schools.

In 2018, KIN collected 100 backpacks for the Welcome Center. Ms. Sharon Cate, the director, described the impact this way:

"When new students arrive to our district, they come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. As they prepare for school in a new environment, there are many new experiences they encounter, one of which is being screened for ESL services. They do this by completing an online language screener. As you can imagine, this is sometimes stressful for new students.

"Just one example of how the backpacks have helped our students is demonstrated by a young student who broke into tears upon learning that she needed to complete an on-line English screener. To calm her down, we stepped away from the screening area and invited her to pick out a backpack filled with school supplies. She was so happy to have the materials she needed for school and a new backpack. She came back ready to complete her screener and go to school.

"The gifts of your time, money, and materials make a difference. The backpacks and school supplies are a tangible way of showing our new students and their families that they are indeed welcome in Knox County. Thank you so much for your support."


Want to tangibly welcome international families to Knoxville? $35 will purchase and fill a backpack. Make a donation today or drop off a full backpack (email us to learn how to schedule a time). You’ll be helping a child feel excited about school!

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