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Volunteers Empower Students
For many kids and their families, the back-to-school season is filled with anticipation, but for others, it’s a stressful time because school supplies can take a big bite out of ever-shrinking budgets. Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians from throughout Southern California recognize the need and each year collect backpacks and fill them with essential supplies to help students be successful in school.
Dedicated volunteers in Panorama City, Woodland Hills, South Bay, Fontana, Kern County, Riverside, Baldwin Park and West Los Angeles collected the necessary materials and provided them to El Nido Family Center in the San Fernando Valley for disbursement at an event held at the Pacoima Community Center. El Nido Family Centers is a non-profit organization that focuses on child abuse prevention and treatment, youth development, teen parenting, and parent education programs in Los Angeles County.
More than 500 students received new backpacks filled with supplies and encouraging personal notes, thanks to the time, resources and negotiating skills of 60+ Kaiser Permanente employee volunteers working together.
The afternoon celebration included games, art activities, storytelling, face painting, dancing, and fun fitness exercises. The LA Galaxy Star Squad was out in full force sharing interactive soccer techniques and lots of Galaxy giveaways.
“Our parents are most grateful to El Nido and Kaiser Permanente for providing these children with the tools to start the new school year,” said Aracelly Godinez, director of El Nido’s FamilySource Center.
Some efforts continue through August: For example, the Downey Medical Center is currently collecting backpacks and school supplies for four local school districts. Baldwin Park Medical Center employees from 45 departments have been partnering with the Baldwin Park School District for many years to help students, and recently added the three elementary schools from West Covina School District to their distribution list.
John Nguyen, MD, Emergency Department, enlisted the help of his family and together they provided 89 backpacks with school supplies. Another Baldwin Park volunteer, Gurdeep Singh, assistant department administrator, said, “I participate each year because it gives me great joy in helping out and giving back, especially when I am fortunate enough to do so."
Want to get involved? Find out more about volunteer opportunities at community.kp.org/be-involved