Help with Costly School Supplies

with Henry Saxon of Boys and Girls Clubs of America

National Education

All parents want their children to excel in school academically, but many aren’t able to afford expensive school supplies for them to do so.  This becomes an even greater issue for students entering middle and high school, quickly approaching college application season.  Henry Saxon joins Robert Traynham for an intimate discussion on the how the Boys and Girls Club of America is providing students with quality school supplies.

Henry Saxon joins Robert Traynham for a discussion on the how the Boys and Girls Club of America is helping families provide students with quality school supplies.

Interview Recorded June 14, 2017. Hosted by Robert Traynham.

Read a partial transcript of this interview below:

Traynham: This fall as elementary school students head back to class, parents can spend up to $200 per child on school supplies. For parents of middle and high school students, that figure jumps to more than $330. For families struggling to make ends meet, these costs can be out of reach. Hello, everyone, and welcome to “Comcast Newsmakers.” Im Robert Traynham, and joining me is Henry Saxon, director of organizational development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Welcome to the program, Henry.

Saxon: Thank you, Robert.

Traynham: You know, Im pausing for a second here because I just — When I say those type things and read those stats, its really depressing that there are some parents out there that really can… look, write a check, and whatever their child needs or children need, they can make it happen. For others, who are living paycheck to paycheck, folks that are struggling between literally food, medicine, the mortgage, car payment, and school supplies, its a bit of a struggle. How pervasive is this problem?

Saxon: Well, thank you for your question. And it is very concerning to all of us and certainly at Boys & Girls Clubs of America, where we have nearly 4 million kids who faithfully come to our clubs each and every day. Many of them are in the demographics that you just described, so… But whats more troubling is, without those critical resources that you cited, young people have a tendency to fall behind if theyre not adequately prepared at the start of the school year. And we all know the implications of not having adequate preparation, and they fall behind in some of the things that impact them, particularly academically.

Traynham: The parent who is struggling — theyre probably saying to themselves, “I want my child to do well, but I cannot afford this. And I want my child to soar academically.” And theyre crying out for help. What can they do? How can they turn to perhaps the Boys & Girls Club of America for help?

Saxon: Well, one of the things that were focusing on is weve just launched an after-school initiative called Back2School, and this is where were having really a call to action, quite honestly, to the public to go to our website, bgca.com, and look at supporting young people by donating after-school supplies and resources so we can distribute them at our nearly 4,000 Club houses across the country. Thats one start where we can get critical resources to the kids that youre talking about.

Traynham:And, Henry, for the folks that are watching this program either on their smart device or perhaps at home, what does those school supplies look like? Is it just as simple as a pen? Is it a laptop? Are there books? I mean, what is it?

Saxon:Theyre reference materials, paper products, pens, calculators, reading materials, dictionaries, reference materials, as I mentioned — “A” to “Z.” If were fortunate enough to take things like laptops, well certainly get those and accept those as well, but our website has all of that information and some of the things that we advise you to provide for us.