“There’s lots of things in your backpack. What are you going to do with all that stuff when you get home?”
Kindergarten teacher Erin Madden stood in between two sets of students – on one side, wiggly 5-year-olds; on the other, high school students in matching blue t-shirts.
“We’re going to color!” shouted one kindergartner.
Kids Helping Kids, a local nonprofit organization, made a surprise visit to Howe Avenue Elementary on Thursday morning and handed out more than 100 backpacks filled with pencils, markers and crayons.
The student-run group, made up of Del Campo High School juniors and seniors, aims to help children in need. Howe Avenue has one of the highest percentages of low-income families in San Juan Unified.
“We’re hoping to give them the tools succeed as much as they can, so they feel like they can get their work done at home too,” said Sarah Warner, a Del Campo senior and member of Kids Helping Kids. “When we come into the room, their faces just light up.”
Victor Velasquez, 5, couldn’t contain his excitement as he opened up his backpack and saw markers inside.
“I like to draw Mario,” he explained.
Kids Helping Kids donated backpacks to other schools in the Sacramento region this year, including Glenwood Elementary, Woodlake Elementary, Cordova Villa Elementary and Elverta Elementary.
“A lot of the kids don’t really have those things at home,” said Howe kindergarten teacher Babette Lieberman. “They’re going to be so happy.”