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Colorado State University Program Supplies Children A Good Start For School

Friday, August 7, 1998

Note to the editor: Colorado State University volunteers

will organize backpack supplies starting at 10 a.m. August

11 in the Durrell Center. Community and university

volunteers will stuff backpacks starting at 8 a.m. August 12

in the Durrell Center. Backpacks will be delivered to

schools August 13 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. To set up interviews or

photos, contact June Greist at (970) 491-1194.

FORT COLLINS--Colorado State University's School Is Cool program will provide more than 800 Poudre School District children with backpacks and supplies this fall.

School Is Cool is a community outreach program designed to give less-fortunate children the supplies they need to start the school year. The program, in its seventh year, is funded by donations from Colorado State employees with support from US WEST DEX and Norlarco Credit Union. Through the program, university employees are invited to buy and stuff backpacks or to donate cash used to purchase packs and supplies. Employees then donate time to stuff and deliver the backpacks to area schools.

"Having new school supplies provides kids with a sense of pride as they begin the new year," said Don Unger, Poudre School District superintendent. "You cannot put a price on getting a good start and feeling good about yourself. School Is Cool clearly enables that for a number of our students."

More than a quarter of students enrolled in Poudre School District participate in the free and reduced-lunch program. The number of backpacks distributed to each school is based on the school's percentage of students enrolled in this special lunch program.

"School Is Cool is a wonderful opportunity for a higher education institution to reach out to the community and touch the lives of younger children," said Kathy Phifer, director of the program and publications coordinator at the university. "We have been delighted to see the program grow. There are so many families that need a helping hand, even in a community that looks affluent on the surface."

When School Is Cool was launched in 1992, 63 backpacks were distributed. This year, the program received more than $14,000, enabling the purchase of more than 800 stuffed backpacks.

Every year, the School Is Cool program receives hundreds of thank-you letters from parents, children and school administrators. Last year, one student wrote, "Thanks to you I have a backpack and some school supplies. I will hope you are here next year. I will never forget you."

After Colorado State volunteers deliver the packs to the 36 participating schools, school principals distribute the backpacks at their discretion so children and their families are not identified.

For more information about School Is Cool, call Phifer at (970) 491-6561.

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