The Neediest Kids: A Spotlight on Frederick County Public Schools

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Frederick County Public Schools is located in Frederick, Maryland. We have been a proud partner with Bridge to Success / Neediest Kids program since February of 2011. Since that time, we have been able to assist hundreds of our students annually with clothing, shoes, groceries, eye exams and glasses.

FCPS enrolled 41,413 students for the 2016-2017 school year, of which 11,115 (26.84%) qualified for Free and Reduced Meals (FARM), a primary indicator of poverty. Additionally, included in our enrollment were 818 homeless students who are challenged every single day to meet the difficulties of their academic workload, while not knowing where they might sleep that night, or if they will have dinner.

We have a system in place that ensures there is a Neediest Kids rep in every school. Most times this is a guidance counselor, homeless coordinator, or a community liaison who is working with the family directly to coordinate outside services for the student. When they see a need that we can fulfill with the Neediest Kids program, they contact us and send a request.

The Neediest Kids is vital to FCPS and our families because we have many students who don’t qualify for FARM, but still need assistance to keep things going. This program provides us with the ability to support our families to achieve our goal of having healthy, successful students.

Story 1 –
I received a call from a social worker who went to visit a family. The child was crying because there was no food in the house. Through Neediest Kids, we were able to provide a gift card to Safeway so the family could go shopping and replenish their food supply.

Story 2 –
I received a call from a school counselor who had a disabled student who broke her glasses. The mother was on disability as well, and there was no money to replace the glasses. Through Neediest Kids, we were able to supply the student with an eye exam and glasses. Without this, she would have had to wait months until insurance could have covered the need.

Story 3 –
I received a request from an elementary school counselor. There were two young boys who had been through some recent traumatic events in their family. They were in desperate need of new pants that fit. Through Neediest Kids, I was able to provide a voucher to Burlington Coat Factory for the new clothing. When the counselor gave it to the boys, the one brother exclaimed: “This is the best day ever!!”.

The Neediest Kids program is so meaningful to our staff, parents and students. To know that we have the ability to change someone’s life by providing them with a basic donation that other people might take for granted is incredible. When we have received the bulk shipments of BRAND NEW clothing and accessories, there have literally been tears of joy all around.

AUTHOR

Shelly Tribett

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