Organization to collect school supplies

Published 10:57 pm Tuesday, August 6, 2019

A local organization is collecting school supplies to stuff backpacks for Hampton Roads-area children who have a parent incarcerated.

Building Resilience in Communities and the Men Alleviating Negativity Foundation are hosting the inaugural Chosen Ones summer program. Partnering with Western Tidewater Regional Jail and the community, the program is supporting local children with a parent in Virginia jails and prisons.

“Parental incarceration has been reported as more detrimental to a child’s health and well-being than a child losing a parent to divorce or even death,” said Quniana Futrell, executive director and founder of Building Resilience in Communities. As a child, Futrell dealt with the incarceration of her own mother and now inspires children in the same situation through her program, writings and more.

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One in 14 children in the United States has an incarcerated parent, Futrell stated.

School supplies can be donated this Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Churchland Library, 4934 High St. W. in Portsmouth. Futrell said backpacks have been donated by a sponsor, but all other school supplies are needed.

“We just now have to stuff them with something,” Futrell said.

All types of school supplies are needed, but items for older students, such as those in high school, are less often donated and more in demand, Futrell said. Those items may include calculators, flash drives, binders, lined paper, dividers, composition notebooks and the like.

This summer’s program will take 30 children, with almost as many volunteers and mentors, to the National Museum of African American History and Culture this Sunday. When students return from the trip, they will receive their stuffed backpack, Futrell said.

The mentorship students have received all summer and will receive on the trip, combined with the backpacks, will give them a great push to return to school this fall.

The mentors will “be their buddy for the day,” Futrell said. “They’ll see how things are going with them. Sometimes we can come from something that could be negative and we can still turn out to be as amazing as we were created to be. It’s all in your choices and the people you hang out with.”

For more information, email or call 598-4272.