The school supplies are collected from participants in diversionary programs at the Solicitor’s Office, such as Pre-Trial Intervention and Alcohol Education Program. Participants in the diversionary programs can elect to donate school supplies in lieu of a portion of the community service hours they must complete as part of the programs.
“This is a great opportunity for those in our diversionary programs to put something into their community,” said Dale Allen, PTI Director for the 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. “Many times, these people are seen as ‘takers’ and this lets them experience the joy of being a ‘giver’ to the most vulnerable and needy in their community.”
Each year, more than millions of school children across the nation arrive at school without the supplies they need to learn effectively. According to recent research conducted by Kids in Need Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose stated mission is to provide school supplies for needy children, having access to school supplies led to significant increases in participation, social interaction, homework completion, and self-esteem.
According to Johnathan Graves, Community Services Coordinator for Greenwood School District 50, having school supplies sets students up for success when they enter the classroom.
“We appreciate the strong support we receive annually from Mr. David Stumbo and his office with the donation of school supplies,” Graves said. “These supplies give our students a solid foundation for the beginning of the year. We look forward to continuing this partnership with the Solicitors Office in the future.”
The program is at the heart of the mission of the 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office to balance accountability with restorative justice, enabling program participants to put their lives back on track to being productive, law-abiding citizens.
“Research has shown over and over again how critical having a good foundation in education is to a child becoming a productive member of society and avoiding crime,” Solicitor Stumbo said. “Not only are children being equipped for success, but that success is being facilitated by those in diversionary programs. Through this one act of kindness, two lives are being changed and that is at the very heart of what we want to accomplish, which is to change lives for the better.”