Students Fill 600 Backpacks for Schoolchildren at Cradles to Crayons

By Purnell T. Cropper | September 2, 2011

By Michelle Tooker ’07,’10M

As part of New Student Orientation, more than 40 first-year students and Orientation Leaders (OLs) volunteered at Cradles to Crayons to pack book bags for needy schoolchildren. With a high level of dedication and enthusiasm, students filled more than 600 backpacks with supplies, including notebooks, folders and pencils. Arcadia’s help was even more pertinent this year because Cradles to Crayons received requests for 23,000 book bags as part of its annual Backpack-A-Thon.

“We’re really happy to have the Arcadia students here,” says Brian Kindle, Volunteer Manager at Cradles to Crayons. “They’re helping to make sure that students go back to school with the essentials they need to learn.” Watch video footage and hear from students.

Kindle notes that Arcadia students learned a lot themselves in the process. “Volunteering is a social experience, so it’s a good way for them to get to know their peers. It also gives them a chance to get to know the place that’s going to be there home for the next four years and what issues affect the area,” he says.

Students worked as a team to fill the bags efficiently and quickly. They set up an assembly line to ensure each bag received the adequate supplies. Those who weren’t packing book bags returned to their own childhoods while serving as “toy testers” to ensure donated toys were fully functional and in suitable condition.

“A lot of these students wouldn’t have known about Arcadia’s community service offerings without this opportunity,” says OL Ekta Butala ’14. “It gives them a good idea of what Arcadia is all about.”

Other OLs echoed Butala’s sentiment and were surprised by how happy the students were and how many didn’t want to leave at the end of the day. All of the participants enjoyed helping to ensure that needy children would return to school feeling valued and with the necessary learning supplies.

First-year students also came to recognize the importance of community service. Computer Science major William Olega ’15 sees volunteering as a way to pay forward the help he received to get to college, while Erika Knight ’15 enjoyed packing the book bags and the rewarding adventure community service offers.  “As students we have a lot of free time, and it gives you a good feeling to volunteer,” adds Video Communications major Hans Odaga ’15.