Behind Our Fun Run:
Niles Township Makes Sure Students In Need Are Ready For School Year
Fun. Food. Families. That literation list can only be referring to the second annual Fun Run May 21 hosted by Niles Township at Old Orchard Junior High School, 9310 Kenton Ave., SK.
We want to bring our community together for a memorable day. Whether you’re there to participate in our 5K walk/run/roll, or enjoy games and entertainment, or snack on delectable treats or take a shot at our new raffle, there is guaranteed to be something for everyone!
Not to be forgotten, however, is why we hold our Fun Run — beyond creating an event that all families in our community can enjoy. Our Fun Run supports Niles Township’s School Supplies drive, which provides essential school supplies for students from families in need.
Last year, some 2,000 children in the Township opened their year equipped with backpacks acquired through Niles Township’s annual drive. That drive allowed students — no matter the financial hardships facing their families — to begin the school year on equal footing and in a position to succeed.
This is anything but a negligible issue. Multiple studies have shown the severe impact on children facing a school year without the supplies they need. On-line fundraisers in school districts across the country attest to the severity of the problem.
“Imagine a child struggling and being teased by other children for not having what they need in class,” one fundraiser states. “They might feel ashamed or like they don’t belong. They might feel embarrassed asking to borrow a pencil or paper every day. They will not likely be motivated and could have issues with their self-esteem. This is why having school supplies is so important.
Children have to be equipped with what they need in order to have a better learning experience.”
Did you know that eight of Niles Township’s 10 public school districts include at least 30 percent of their students on free and reduced lunches, categorized as low-income students? Two of the Township’s largest school districts have low income students of close to or more than 50 percent.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 90 percent of public school teachers spend their own money on school supplies without reimbursement, and on average, teachers spend some $480 on items for their classrooms.
Months after our Fun Run has ended, many of our wonderful volunteers will gather at the Township to pack backpacks with essential school supplies in time for the start of school. While the Township used to deliver the supplies directly to families, it now works with school districts throughout the Township so distribution can be handled more efficiently.
Many of our participants in this year’s Fun Run have raised funds that have made this important initiative possible. Instrumental Fun Run sponsors support our event, recognizing just how vital this assistance is to the families we serve.
ComEd is our presenting sponsor. Other sponsors include Old Orchard Jr High; Niles Township Government; Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky; The Douglas Center; Law Offices of Naheed A. Amdani, P.C.; Tapestry 360 Health; and State Sen. Laura Fine.
Also, NorthShore Community Bank; State Sen. Ram Villivalam; Odelson Sterk Murphy; Skokie Police; the Skokie Caucus Party; Stages Constructions; State Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz and Alexander Grossman Attorney at Law.
Also, Insurance People; Elle's Marshmallows; Kneads & Wants; Skokie Swifters; Lin-Mar Towing; the Education Foundation; the Rotary Club Of Skokie Valley; and State Rep. Kevin Olickal.
Also, The Fitness Lab, LLC; Village of Morton Grove; Jen Ruffner Group; Ifantis Dental Care; Atour Sargon; Denyse Wang Stoneback; William Oney-Paige: Worth Clark Realty; and Erie Family Health Centers.
It’s never too late to contribute to the Niles Township Food Pantry Foundation at http://ntfpfoundation.com and to help our struggling families. We’re so looking forward to being with you this month, and when our kids return to school come August, we’ll remember just what a grand party can mean to our close-knit community.