I want to take this time to express my sincere thanks to all of you who donated to the Youth and Family Services 5th Annual School Supply Drive and Back to School Social. Without your generosity we would not be able to supply over 260 students with backpacks full of school supplies to start the school year.

Each backpack, notebook, folder, pen, or pencil you donated will be put to good use. Each backpack had four folders, two spiral notebooks, one composition notebook, one pack of crayons, one pack of markers, one pack of colored pencils, a ruler, pencil case filled with pens, pencils, scissors, erasers, highlighters, and glue. We also had an extra supply table set up for youth to pick up packs of loose-leaf paper, binders, notecards, and other assorted supplies.

I want to take a movement to also thank some of our community partners in this event. First a thank-you to the Daly Bagel for hosting a donation box at their store. The Daly Bagel has hosted a school supply donation box for the past three years and without their support collecting monetary donations we would not be able to purchase extra supplies needed to complete backpacks.

Secondly, another thank-you to the members of OPALGA+ who volunteered tirelessly with us to stuff all the backpacks and also to help us set up, staff tables at the event, and clean up after the event. We also could not have hosted this event without the Park District of Oak Park, Oak Park Public Library, River Forest Public Library, Collaboration for Early Childhood, +PYD Coalition, Oak Park Police Department (Pawficer Howie), Way Back Inn, West Cook 40, and Township Senior Services who set up tables with activities and giveaways for youth and families attending.

We also want to thank our vendors, from face painters, DJ Ron Steele, barbers Damien and Joan who were able to give 14 youth haircuts, Brookfield Zoo, and more.

They all generously donated their time, talents, and raffle prizes to make this truly a special experience for youth and families. We had three youth high school volunteers who helped set up, man tables and clean up, and they were the definition of hardworking.

Finally, a moment to thank my dedicated staff at Youth and Family Services, Dominique Hickman, Laura Devitt, Jacob Matson, Kelly O’Connor, Sofia Fernandez, Martika Aranda, Moriah Gale, Gina Ramirez, Idalit Zavala, and Lyn Wilder-Dean. Their dedication to youth and families of Oak Park and River Forest is unparalleled. I am in constant amazement with their efforts and work. They worked around the clock this summer to make sure the School Supply Drive and Back to School Social were successful. The first year we ever did this event we gave away 54 backpacks. This year it was 260. Without this staff we would have not been able to grow this event every year to serve youth and families in the communities.

Thank you all for your continued support of Youth and Family Services of Oak Park and River Forest Townships and we look forward to partnering again with you all next year for our sixth annual event!

Megan Traficano
Director Youth and Family Services
Co-Interim Township Manager

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