Belle Glade Elementary serves a good number of migrant students. Too often, Juan and other students like him don’t have the right clothing to start school. “Fitting in” and having the “correct fitting” clothes lets them start school feeling great about themselves. As Adelle Sumner, Vice Principal at BGE, says, “School uniforms give our students the sense that they belong to the school and that they are a part of our school community.”
That’s where Back to Basics comes in. Working with 60+ schools that help identify students and families that need support, Back to Basics distributed 21,000 new uniforms to schools through the uniform program last year. Through the Angel program, 8,150 Palm Beach County children, the majority living at or below the poverty level, received gifts of new sneakers, socks, underwear, and a toy.
BGE’s Vice-Principal Sumner explained that in September, the school starts calling students who have not yet shown up to encourage them to get started. One of their parents’ concerns is the lack of clothing for their children. They’re embarrassed to send them to school without proper clothing. “When we assure the parents that we have uniforms in school for their children, they are on campus in no time to pick up the uniforms. By the next day, the students are in school, ready and eager to start their year.”
This past December, when the students received their gifts, some students told Ms. Sumner that those would be the only presents they’d be receiving.
Where other kids might see a simple toy or a no-name brand shoe, Back to Basics students see dignity and confidence.