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    Back to School Brigade strikes again

    Kailyn Sobey, 6, Levi Sobey, 3, children of Michelle and CW3 Ben Sobey, an Army helicopter pilot, and Madison Roselli, 6, along with Mason Roselli, 4, children of Amanda and 1st Sgt Neil Roselli, play with their baloon art together during the Back to Scho

    Photo By Laurie Pearson | Kailyn Sobey, 6, Levi Sobey, 3, children of Michelle and CW3 Ben Sobey, an Army...... read more read more



    Story by Laurie Pearson 

    Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow

    Military families were able to stock up on school supplies thanks to the Back to School Brigade event held aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., July 27.
    “Last year, there were approximately 130 children who received school supplies and backpacks,” said Adam Diaz, Exceptional Family Member Program case worker and School Liaison Program officer for MCLB Barstow, who coordinated the event along with Jennifer Silva, marketing events coordinator. Due to growing families, this year there were more than 140 children benefiting from BSB, a 10 percent increase.
    “The event has changed a lot over just a few years,” said Diaz. “It began as only a school supply distribution for the military families, sponsored by Operation Homefront through local Dollar Tree stores. Additionally, the High Desert Marines have been volunteering and providing backpacks at these events. Next, it began to include school representatives (district superintendents, principals, and choice schools) to assist with enrollment for all families. Now, there are opportunities for the families to sit in a short brief to learn about Common Core or Homeschool options. I have a few new things in store for next year as well!”
    Once the donations are received, Diaz and Silva recruit volunteers on base to assist with counting and sorting more than 3,000 items.
    “I will typically seek out teenagers to help me since they are often interested in being active in their community,” said Diaz. “Spouses and other coworkers also express interest in giving back to the families aboard the base.”
    “Volunteering for the Back to School Brigade 2016 event has been very interesting and satisfying,” said Alma Martinez, wife of Sgt. Major Sergio Martinez, the base sergeant major. “Many kids will be able to benefit from this. The Back to School Brigade 2016 (also) helps connect with the community in two different ways. On the one hand it encourages stores to come together in order to donate school supplies to support the school-age kids, and on the other hand it shows the community that MCLB Barstow is more to the community that just a source of employment. We need to thank not just all those individuals that donate their time volunteer for this entire evolution, but also to all those stores who donate school supplies.”
    Once everything was prepared, doors opened and families registered, then children perused and selected supplies.
    “When the families pass through our registration point at the event, they receive a backpack for each school aged child,” explained Diaz. “They will then continue along a path of tables blanketed with pencils, pens, erasers, crayons, colored pencils, paper, folders, binders, spiral notebooks, glue, scissors ... anything you can think that a student would need in order to be successful academically.”
    The event is mostly about the children, but it benefits the families as a whole.
    “Having so many supplies to give them allows them to make a choice in what they will be walking around with for the start of the year,” said Diaz. “Since these supplies are donated, it lets the parents allocate that money toward something else like shoes, clothes, or other expenses that tend to pop up unannounced.”
    From a parent and teacher’s perspective, Ashley Ignatz couldn’t agree more.
    “Although my daughter is still too young to attend school, I have spent time as a teacher in classes from Kindergarten through twelfth grade,” said Ignatz. “The Back to School Brigade helps the students go to class prepared, which ultimately allows the teachers to focus on actually teaching instead of stressing about materials. This is such a great opportunity for the families aboard MCLB Barstow."



    Date Taken: 07.28.2016
    Date Posted: 08.01.2016 18:29
    Story ID: 205735
    Location: BARSTOW, CA, US 

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