Annual campaign to boost disadvantaged Nanaimo students

By Ian Holmes
August 9, 2018 - 5:18pm Updated: August 9, 2018 - 11:14pm

Nanaimo Ladysmith Schools Foundation executive director Crystal DennisonIan Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — An annual campaign is underway to help ensure hundreds of Nanaimo area students have basic supplies to help improve their long term outcomes.

The Nanaimo Ladysmith Schools Foundation (NLSF) aims to raise $60,000 over the next three weeks through its Stock the Lockers campaign to help provide supplies to an estimated 900 students at Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools.

Crystal Dennison, the Foundation's executive director, said the need is elevated in the Nanaimo area. The city ranks among the highest in B.C. for child poverty rates.

“In some schools it's as high as one-in-two students that are living in financial situations that make it very difficult for them to have their basic needs met.”

Dennison said basic school supplies, athletic wear, field trip money, grad fees and a meal program are all examples of programs they fund annually.

She anticipated $40,000 raised through September would be spent directly on supplies for the upcoming school year. She told NanaimoNewsNOW another critical role the Foundation plays is feeding roughly 550 students daily.

“It's very difficult for a student to learn in a classroom where they're showing up to school hungry. For starters, they don't have the proper exercise books, crayons, markers or supplies for them to actually carry out their day.”

Jamie Brennan, a longtime local school board trustee, said people may be surprised by all of the “peripheral” costs parents are tagged with in the public school system.

"No child in the public education system should be denied access to any program or service because of financial conditions of the family," he said.

You can donate to the Nanaimo Ladysmith Schools Foundation on their website.

 

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