As the school year comes to a close, I invite our business community to consider how it might participate in the 2012-13 school year.
Fairfax County has one of the best public education systems in the United States, with nearly 95 percent of students attending some form of post-secondary schooling. But even with these encouraging numbers, we continue to have students who are at risk of falling through the cracks.
Facts to ponder:
• The Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) Homeless Program reports 2,278 students were identified as homeless during the 2010-11 school year.
• According to the School Year 2010-11 Fairfax County Youth Survey. 45.5 percent of high school students reported drinking alcohol and over 20 percent reported smoking marijuana and/or cigarettes in their lifetime.
Positive influences are needed from our business community. Tutors shape the development of young minds. Mentors are needed for students who may come from affluent homes, yet lack strong adult figures in their lives. Guest speakers help students envision the future. And donations feed two meals a day to the most-needy in our schools – children who may not have meals at home.
Your business can assist with these programs for our schools:
• Weekend Food Backpack Program: Provide non-perishable, kid-friendly foods to be sent home with students identified as having a need for additional food on weekends and during school breaks.
• Back-To-School Basics: Conduct a backpack or scientific calculator drive, or make a financial contribution to ensure FCPS students start the school year with all the supplies they need to succeed.
• Mentoring and After-School Tutoring: Volunteer in a tutoring or mentoring program to provide much needed support to children who have been identified as being in need of extra help.
FCPS accepts donations of labor, musical instruments, vehicles, building or landscape materials, computers, prom wear and other items of value. Donations to FCPS are tax deductible.
I encourage you to take a few minutes this summer to plan how your business – ownership and employees – can support Fairfax County students this fall.