YONKERS, N.Y. -- Students got back-to-school supplies and backpacks at a barbecue Aug. 24 at Leake & Watts.
The annual event also delivered a lesson about the importance of education.
The nonprofit's family preventive services component makes its impact at the annual festive barbecue, which sends "a powerful message," according to the school.
“Education is the best way for children to rise above adversity and achieve success,” explained Paul Martin, director of preventive services at the Yonkers agency, which supports 11,000 children, adults and families in the New York metropolitan area.
“The children love to pick out their favorite backpacks, which have been stuffed with notebooks, pencils, crayons and other supplies essential to doing schoolwork,” Martin said. "We want the children to look forward to school and feel they have everything they need to learn.”
Leake & Watts helps families in crisis who are at risk of losing custody of their children through counseling and by getting them the resources they need.
These include new backpacks and school supplies, which most families in the program cannot afford.
“Donating a backpack is such a small thing to do, but it means the world to these children and their families,” said Meredith Barber, senior director of institutional advancement at Leake & Watts.