Loudoun County, VA (August 17, 2015) – Former Park View High School Principal Ginger Minshew enlisted the help of several Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) athletic teams to distribute school supplies this summer. Minshew is on the executive board of Kids R First, a nonprofit group that provides basic school supplies to families in need. She became acquainted with the organization five years ago when it helped students in the Park View cluster. Since then, Kids R First has expanded its efforts in Loudoun to serve 7,500 students in 22 schools.
This summer the football teams at Park View, Potomac Falls and Loudoun Valley, along with the Tuscarora girls’ basketball team, helped distribute school supplies. Minshew thinks the students’ participation is important for two reasons:
“(First) it’s a great civics lesson.” Minshew said some of the athletes have no idea that these supplies are needed by some of their friends.
“(Second) there were kids unloading those trucks who will be the recipients of some of those supplies. It’s important for them to feel like they are contributing to what they’re getting.”
Minshew said she also wanted to make a contribution to a worthy organization that had helped her students. “It’s important to give back. One of the reasons I got on the board and have continued to do this is that Kids R First helped my kids when I was a principal. Those supplies they provided afforded my kids to – not only have the supplies they needed – it also afforded the school the opportunity to use our funds in other places, such as helping kids pay for athletic fees.”
Joining the team distributing school supplies was LCPS Supply Coordinator Ken Peebles and his crews from the school division’s Distribution Center. They loaded 700 boxes of backpacks onto two large trucks and brought them to the Sterling area for the Park View football players to unload at various schools.
Minshew said the supplies in Kids R First backpacks are age-appropriate for students of various grade levels. They also contain top-quality supplies students won’t be embarrassed to bring to school. “Every spring a supply list goes out to each of the schools that is selected to receive school supplies. Each school checks off the supplies they need and they are ordered specifically for them… It’s what would be on any supply list in any school.” (Among the corporations backing Kids R First with school supplies are Wal-Mart and Office Depot.)
Minshew added the value of what’s in the backpacks goes well beyond school supplies.
“As an educator, it makes me proud that there are organizations out there that recognize that kids need basic school supplies so they can do school. As a person, I believe that education is so fundamental to a better life for some of these students.
“This is just the springboard to get them to that high school diploma. If you don’t have a notebook, you can’t take notes. If you don’t have a set of crayons, you can’t participate in your art project in your kindergarten classroom. To me, this is about meeting basic needs. It’s not about anything fancy. It’s about meeting those basic needs of students.
“That’s what we ought to be doing.”
Kids R First was founded more than 20 years ago by Susan Ungerer in Fairfax County. This year, Kids R First will help 25,000 students in 96 schools across Fairfax and Loudoun counties.