Buffalo, NY – On behalf of Mayor Byron W. Brown, Deputy Mayor Ellen Grant today celebrated the successful completion of several free educational summer programs, held over the past 6 weeks. The annual Field Day Backpack Giveaway & Picnic Party was held at the Hennepin Community Center on Ludington Street, where Deputy Mayor Grant was joined by over 100 City of Buffalo youth in grades K-6 who participated in a camp, made possible through a partnership between The Police Athletic League of Buffalo, Inc., Say Yes Buffalo, and Buffalo Public School Teachers. Additionally, 75 middle and high school students were also recognized today for their participation in the PAL Youth Opportunity Connect Program (YOCP). All participants received backpacks filled with school supplies.
“Congratulations to all those who participated in this year’s educational summer camps and those who completed Mayor Brown’s Reading Rules! Kids Summer Reading Challenge,” said Deputy Mayor Grant. ““As our city’s children, youth and young people get ready to return to their classrooms and school communities, we can feel their back-to-school joy today. This backpack giveaway is important because it provides our students with the materials they need for the new school year and is a great way we can help ease financial burdens for our families. On behalf of Mayor Brown, I want to thank National Grid and all of our community partners for all of their hard work to ensure that our students are well prepared for the upcoming school year.”
Deputy Mayor Grant was joined by Ken Kujawa, Regional Director at National Grid, who generously donated 150 Backpacks that were distributed to every child who attended this full day camp program. John Mika, Director at The Teacher’s Desk, also played a vital role in partnering with National Grid to ensure that all 150 students received backpacks filled with grade appropriate school supplies.
“In what’s become somewhat of an annual summer tradition in Buffalo, National Grid is once again joining The Teacher’s Desk to provide backpacks to dozens of kids, just in time for the new school year,” said National Grid Regional Director Ken Kujawa. “We always look forward to taking part in this initiative, which we’ve proudly supported since 2017, and wish all students a safe and successful school year.”
The Teacher’s Desk John Mika stated, “The Teacher’s Desk thanks National Grid for supporting us and the children of PAL and by the end of the summer will be donating a total of 2,000 backpacks filled with school supplies that will be distributed to City of Buffalo youth in time for the new school year. We always say, ‘if you have a pencil you have a chance’ but, if you have a Panchopack that chance is multiplied by 100.”
In addition to the ‘Backpack Giveaway’, participants were treated to a picnic lunch, generously donated by Wegmans. Fun giveaways were also handed out by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York, the sponsor of The Passport to the World Cooking program with Patti George, Urban Fruits & Veggies, and UBMD Pediatrics.
“PAL Educational Summer Camp is vital in helping students gain an advantage to starting the school year. It also helps combat Summer Learning Loss and provides children with social and emotional support and opportunities to engage in meaningful learning activities, in addition to inspirational field trips and healthy PAL Sports & Fitness programs” said Nekia Kemp, Executive Director of Buffalo PAL.
Since taking office, Mayor Byron W. Brown has supported youth and educational programs that strive to slow the summer learning loss, like his Reading Rules! Kids Summer Reading Challenge. Buffalo PAL will continue to offer educational programs during the school year and invites students to participate in PAL’s after school Literacy and Homework Assistance programs that will be held at designated City of Buffalo Community Centers. For additional information, please visit BUFFALOPAL.COM.