2018 COLGATE BRIGHT SMILES, BRIGHT FUTURES COMMUNITY IMPACT AWARD WINNER
The Junior League of Lufkin, TX
For years, many different groups in Angelina County, TX had sponsored a back-to-school supply giveaway to provide backpacks, school supplies and health screenings to families in need, allowing under-resourced students to start the school year on an equal footing with other students. However, with all of the different events being held all over the county it made for a huge duplication of services and an inefficient use of resources.
The JLL consulted with other service agencies in the community, visited other school-readiness projects, and began formulating the plan for its fully centralized Back to School Bonanza.
Through networking, collaboration and community involvement, B2SB is now the main back to school event in Angelina County. Currently, there are fourteen partners working together to host the event. Each organization provides committee members to oversee the year-long planning process, and an enormous crew of volunteers for the day of the event.
B2SB is the largest endeavor the JLL has ever taken on, and while the League provides the bulk of monetary support and coordination, the event is truly the result of a community-wide effort. One church and one non-profit agency have partnered with the JLL since the initial Back to School Bonanza, and each year additional organizations and community partners are added. Funding for the project comes from the entire community, including businesses, individuals and local foundations.
Now in its 7th year, the project continues to blossom in scope and community participation. In 2017, B2SB served over 3,000 children, providing backpacks filled with school supplies, pieces of school uniforms, new shoes and socks, hygiene supplies, haircuts, and head check and dental screenings.
The program has served to promote the JLL as an organization that not only leads, but knows how to collaborate with others to achieve the best results. The momentum of the event’s success has raised League engagement, propelled recruitment efforts and solidified the JLL’s central role in the community for decades to come.