One of the most fundamental and important rights we have as human beings is the right to receive an education. Knowledge is the most important tool in the universe and it is what we use to arm ourselves in the realm of a cruel world and the necessity we fall back on to provide for the ones we love. The sad reality is that here, in America circa 2016, there are those that have to go without when it comes to the essentials of learning and knowledge. However, there is a new movement in our community, and several surrounding communities, to make sure that our kids do not have to go without when it comes to the classroom.
Backpacks 4 Kids is a new charity drive spearheaded by the District Attorney’s office, and the entire Coweta Judicial Circuit, and has been created and spearheaded by two incredible individuals in our DA’s office, Assistant District Attorneys Brett Adams and Drew Case. From July 1st to July 31st, the DA’s office is accepting donations for school supplies that will be given to kids in elementary schools who would otherwise have to go without. Just a $20 donation could provide a backpack full of basic school supplies for a kid in need.
Adams and Case were very driven to make a circuit-wide project to combat the problems facing the youth in our community. They said the desire for this drive came from three basic needs or issues that they saw in the community.
Firstly, Adams noted “My wife is a teacher and has told me of several times over the years where the schools would tell her you can’t do that project with your students’ because [they] did not have the school supplies to do it. She could not ask the students to bring school supplies because some of them could not afford it. The school could not buy it either because they did not have the money.” This is an issue that is very real for many teachers that are passionate about helping their students learn and grow.
Case identified another reason that the community needs a movement such as this. “We [Mr. Case and his wife] met with our kids’ teacher and she said that there are quite a few kids that [need supplies]. The teacher explained that teachers are often straddled with providing the school supplies if the guardian cannot provide the supplies or if the class exhaust all the supplies. [She said] as result teachers are in constant need for as many donation of school supplies as they can get. At all levels of school, public or private, the schools are in desperate need of supplies and the teachers themselves in many cases are having to purchase them with their own money.
Lastly, the duo was very adamant about one reason why this is so important and that need is the same thing they fight against day in and day out in the courtroom: gangs. “Gangs have been attempting to plague this community. Gangs are about two things: recruits and territory. As a result, gangs are in constant need for new recruitments and they will do whatever they can to obtain new recruits. A common way gangs will try to recruit new members is by hosting events under the guise of helping the community. Growth and Development, which used to be the Gangster Disciples, hosted a backpack drive here in Troup County. They gave out backpacks to elementary school kids and they did it obviously as a way to recruit. They said basically that gangs are here to help you out and protect you. They tried to legitimize themselves. If a kid grows up they are going to think well, who am I going to go to, the government, the DA’s office, or the police that are arresting my friends or go the gang members who are their friends helping to provide them with what they need. Parents also have to make a choice: to say do I send my child to get basic, necessary school supplies from a gang or do they go without. It is a ridiculous choice, it is an impossible choice, and it is a choice that we should not stand for.”
These are men that are passionate about helping the kids in our communities thrive and grow without having to rely on violent, harsh methods to receive these basic needs. Their goal is to raise 250 backpacks per county, a total of 1,250 backpacks throughout the entire Coweta Judicial Circuit.
They are asking for communities, clubs, and organizations to help with this cause in whatever way they can. This movement is designed so that anyone can participate by hosting their own fundraisers and activities all in the cause of helping get these supplies to the kids that so desperately need them. While Adams and Case might be spearheading the movement, they want to stress that this is a fundraiser for the people and by the people of the Coweta Circuit in all of these Counties, and that there should be a sense of unity amongst all of our peoples.
Donations can be taken to any police station, sheriff’s office, the jail, or DA’s office in the Coweta Judicial Circuit. The most common supplies that are needed include eight pack crayons, construction paper, spiral notebooks, black and white composition notebooks, wide ruled notebook paper, #2 non-mechanical pencils, manual pencil sharpeners, colored folders, rulers, glue sticks, blunted scissors, and most importantly, backpacks. Those supplies will be distributed to the elementary schools to hand out according to their needs. The DA’s Office is also able to buy in bulk, so a donation can sometimes go further than what you can do at a local store or online. Just $20 can provide a backpack full of school supplies to an underprivileged child.
The importance of this project cannot be stated enough. Our children are living, breathing glimpses into the future. It is our responsibility and our duty as decent, caring people sharing this planet to make sure that they are provided for to the upmost of our ability.
No child should ever head out that door in the morning, fresh-faced and eager, into a world that says you do not deserve the ability to learn to the best of your ability. People like Adams, Case, the good people of the DA’s office, and all of those men and women that are involved with this project should be commended for their commitment to looking at this problem, a problem that at times seems insurmountable, and tackling it with a fervor and burning desire to annihilate gang violence and help our children head into tomorrow equipped with every tool that they need to build a better future.
To learn more on the Backpack 4 Kids drive, please check out their Facebook page at Facebook.com/CJCBackpacks4kids or call 706-2983708. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
Jeremy Andrews Staff Writer