Backpack drive sets students up for success

By: Gerry Rucchin
August 19, 2019

Faculty, staff and students at the Faculty of Education are making sure elementary and secondary school students are ready for the upcoming school year.

The Faculty is participating in the Best First Day Backpack Drive, which provides backpacks and school supplies to students in need.

United Way Elgin Middlesex, the Thames Valley Education Foundation and The Salvation Army are coordinating the drive and they hope to collect 4,000 backpacks full of school supplies. They will be distributed to students in the Thames Valley District School Board, London District Catholic School Board and First Nations schools across the region.

Organizers are collecting markers, pencil crayons, lunch bags, pencils, pencil cases and scientific calculators.

Maly Bun-Lebert, the Faculty of Education backpack drive coordinator, remembers her first day of school and the excitement that day brought. She fondly recalls the back-to-school shopping that included new clothes, a backpack and school supplies. She hopes to give students the joy and excitement she had when starting the school year.

Maly Bun-Lebert and son Theo

Maly Bun-Lebert is coordinating the Faculty of Education’s backpack drive. The goal is to provide backpacks and school supplies to students in need. Here, she’s with her son Theo at a previous backpacking night.

“I want them to start their first day of school dreaming of all of the new and fun things they get to do in school with their friends and teachers,” said Bun-Lebert. “I don’t want kids to worry about having a ripped backpack, or not having calculators, pens, markers or binders. I want these kids to be kids and have their best first day ever by setting them up for success.”

The program started in 2001 and last year, over 3,700 backpacks full of school supplies were collected.

Western Education is one of a number of faculties at the university who are participating in the drive. Western also has dedicated evening at the Thames Valley District School Board where faculty, staff and students will fill the backpacks with supplies.

For Bun-Lebert, the Faculty of Education is uniquely suited to participate.

“Transforming education and transforming lives is our vision at the Faculty,” she said. “While our robust curriculum trains the best teachers, we also want to ensure our teachers are trained to encourage student success.”

Read more about the Best First Day Backpack Drive.