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A pen. A pencil. A piece of paper. Neither of these should be a barrier that prevents a child from receiving an education. Yet, for far too many their expense serves as a built-in impediment to learning. Studies show that an unprepared student lacks confidence and is simply unable to access learning when they do not have the tools they need to do so. The embarrassment associated with not having supplies and the need to consistently borrow from others can also lead to anxiety that in some cases results in the student not attending class at all.

Many parents work multiple jobs to barely make ends meet. So, purchasing back-to-school supplies and clothing that can cost them more than $500 on average according to a study by Deloitte, is simply out of the question. In an effort to keep things on track, teachers, who are often overworked and underpaid, dig into their own pockets to purchase supplies for their over-sized classrooms. The NY Times recently reported that on average, these teachers are spending nearly $500 a year out of their own money to fill the gap. This is almost double the $250 federal tax deduction available to them. Students from lower income households who attend public schools and their teachers, who increasingly endure budget cuts, are particularly affected by these realities.

As a proud product of the Chicago Public School system, who attended quality public schools for both elementary and high school, I understand the challenges all too well. Although I grew up in a middle-class home, back to school shopping was quite expensive, especially for my parents who had to purchase supplies and clothes for a son and twin daughters. Additionally, I have seen my sister, cousins and great aunt – all teachers - devote a significant amount of their time and money serving lower-income students. The challenges are exhausting. However, I also know the rewards that come from students who are adequately prepared to engage in the learning process.

All students, no matter what their socioeconomic profile looks like, should be able to start the school year off prepared to learn and grow. This is why I decided to donate a percentage of our sales to the CPS’ 2018 Back to School. Campaign.

Following is a list that includes four ways that you can assist me in my efforts to serve underprivileged CPS students.

1) Make purchases from August 14 through August 28 and we will donate 5% of our sales to the CPS to purchase school supplies for underprivileged students.

2) Visit our tent at Randolph Street Market at 1341 West Randolph Street in Chicago, August 25 & 26, 10a - 5p and make purchases. Global Attic will donate 5% of our sales to the CPS to purchase school supplies for underprivileged students.

3) Visit the CPS website to review the School Essentials list to learn what supplies are needed, purchase them and call 773-553-1580 to arrange for delivery. *Items must be able to be easily transported.

4) Make a Kits for Kidz purchase! It's a pre-assembled kit containing the supplies that most students will need to give them a great start to the school year.

For more information, visit the CPS website.

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