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Binghamton, CARES Advocates for Families giving away free backpacks, school supplies

Community Advocates Restoring Educational Standards Facebook page.

Back-to-school time means stocking up on school supplies. But school supplies can be expensive and it's important to make sure every student has the tools they need to succeed. WSKG's Brent Fox spoke with Dr. Denise Yull and Wes Mays from CARES Advocates for Families in Binghamton.

Brent Fox: So let me start off with why is it important that all students have new school supplies?

Denise Yull: Well, this is the eighth year that we've partnered with the city of Binghamton for an annual backpack and school supply giveaway. This is an event that's really vital to our mission, the mission of CARES.

Our giveaway is done hoping that no kid feels unprepared as they go to school. And to help families ease the burden of the cost, school supplies are expensive. Every child needs to be going to school prepared. We're still in a situation where kids are still working through the consequences of COVID. We don't want our kids to go into schools not prepared to start day one. So as that's why it's really important for us.

BF: And what is CARES doing to make sure students are getting what they need?

DY: Well, CARES is working for a number of people. Just like we really believe that it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to help children be prepared for school. So we're super grateful to the city of Binghamton, and Mayor Kraham and his staff and their continued support in our effort to provide backpacks and school supplies, and to a number of organizations and businesses that partner with us.

I want to shout out to folks at the Bundy, the Urban League, Broome/Tioga NAACP, Noma, the Lee Barta Center, Binghamton Housing, who have continued to work with us over the years, and our new friends and partners at Visions, the Binghamton University Library, BAE and Sprayground, who provided some backpacks. All these folks provided financial support or supplies or elbow power. And in terms of packing the bags that we did this weekend. We packed our bags at PM Press, who provided a space in our warehouse to store supplies and pack our backpacks. And it is a huge undertaking. So it takes a community of people to prepare to deliver these 1,100 backpacks that we'll be giving out over the next three days.

BF: And when exactly are the backpack giveaway events going on?

DY: So, you know, we want folks to come on out from 10 to 12. Grab your coffee, grab a cup of coffee, bring your kids and come get some free supplies on Wednesday, August 23. We're partnering with Noma it will be at Walnut Street Park 121 Walnut Street.

On Thursday, we're partnering with Lee Barta Community Center. It will be at the Lee Barta Community Center on 108 Liberty Street.

On Friday, August 25, we'll have more fun at Recreation Park 103 Laurel, Saratoga Community Center, 60 Saratoga Avenue, Carlisle Community Center, 150 Moeller Street. So don't forget to bring your children and come have fun and get some free school supplies. Meet your neighbors. You know, and just come to have a good time.

City Of Binghamton, Office of the Mayor

BF: And what kind of other programs does CARES, provide?

DY: Well, CARES is a grassroots organization and our mission is to support and work toward racial and socio-economic equity in schools. So in addition to our backpack giveaway, Wes is going to share the other programs that we have.

Wes Mays: So we have our CARES Parent Mentor Program, which we're in the schools, building relationship with the teachers and with the students and we are there as a prevention team to help shape the students lives in a positive way. As for the parent mentors, they do receive a stipend, weekly. We also have other programs, the CARES Dads, and also the Know Your Rights parent advocate training program, which explains disciplinary actions and much more information parents need to know for in the school.

BF: And how do families get involved with cares?

WM: So we have a Facebook website, at CARES Advocate. And then you can also get in touch with us at CARESbinghamton@gmail.com. We're also on Instagram. And we are also always out in the community.

BF: I've been talking with Dr. Denise Yull and Wes Mays from CARES Advocates for Families. Thank you for being on today.

DY: Thank you for having us. Really appreciate this.

WM: Thank you.