725 children helped through Adopt-A-Child

Through its Adopt-A-Child Back to School Program, the United Way of West Central Connecticut was able to help 725 local children get ready for school this year.

“We’ve never had numbers this high. In fact, the number jumped over 200 from last year, so we were surprised and nervous about filling all of the requests,” said Donna Osuch, president and CPO in a press release.

“However, our community came through for these children and we were able to help get all of the children ‘adopted’ for the first day of school,” said Osuch in the press release.

Emily Barnes, United Way’s office manager, who runs this program each year, said in the United Way’s press release, “The first day of school can be a tough time for children whose parents cannot afford a nice outfit and/ or appropriate school supplies. A child’s self-image has a dramatic effect on performance in the classroom and the lack of a positive self-image can create lasting consequences.”

United Way believes the first day of school is an important event in a child’s life that is often overlooked, reported the press release. Thus, they began the Adopt–A–Child Back to School Program in 1999, helping 30 children.  They have continued this program each year and it has grown dramatically.

Through this program, the release explained, donors are asked to provide a first day of school outfit for a child, along with a backpack filled with school supplies. United Way gives the donor their child’s first name, gender, clothing sizes, and favorite colors to help them in purchasing their gift.

“The future of many of these children depends on their performance in school and United Way wants to ensure that all children are on a level playing field when they begin the school year,” said Osuch, according to the press release.

“We are so grateful to the hundreds of donors across our communities who stepped up to help a local child this year – we couldn’t have done it without you,” said Barnes in the press release.

Young donor Collage of backpacks Panoramic view of the backpacks Sitting in a sea of backpacks