I never really thought about an alarm clock being an essential school supply until I went to a meeting of the Salem Keizer Assistance League Auxiliary the other day. I was there to talk about the children's contest which supports one of the Auxillary's favorite charitable projects: Operation Backpack. I knew that they provided school supplies to children who need them so these kids can be successful in class and with their homework. What I didn't know is that they get requests from some of the schools for alarm clocks. After I thought about it, it made complete sense. The kids being served are probably not being driven to school by their parents. They probably don't have a cell phone or even a $5 alarm clock from Walmart. So how are they going to wake up on time to get themselves to school? An alarm clock is an essential for these kids.
The members of the Salem Keizer Assistance League Auxiliary collect funds throughout the year to support their program and then, in the summer they go shopping for the best prices on binders, pencils, notebook paper, calculators, backpacks, and even alarm clocks. They share these supplies year round through the counselors of all Salem Keizer Schools, the Oregon School for the Deaf, Chemewa Indian School and some of our local Charter Schools.
Debra Fauth, the current coordinator of the program shared, "The provided supplies are individualized to meet the students’ needs. Some children need everything from a backpack, notebook paper, pencils, even an alarm clock to get to school and be a full participant. And some kids just need a hand with pens, a calculator, or graph paper. Whatever the child needs to be successful, we supply through school counselors."
When you think about it, the $35 entry fee for the children's contest will pay for seven $5 alarm clocks. That's seven kids getting out of bed and getting themselves to school. Seven kids learning what it is to be responsible. Seven kids that are one step closer to being successful in school and in life.