Most kids look forward to the first day of school with a mix of excitement and trepidation, while their parents hover in the background, anticipating the very best for their beloved offspring as they advance in their education.
Yet while the approaching start of school should be a joyous occasion, for many underprivileged families, it can be cause for anxiety and feelings of inadequacy as they struggle to acquire the requisite school supplies for their children.
Thankfully, in Dallas, Texas, the annual Mayor’s Back to School Fair is there to help “economically disadvantaged children start off the new school year with many of their school-related needs met in a one-stop destination.”
The 20th Annual Mayor’s Back to School Fair took place on August 5th 2016, and Tzu Chi Foundation was there, as it has been during the past 12 years, distributing school uniforms and study supplies, and benefitting over 70,000 students to date.
But Tzu Chi’s demonstrated care about the welfare of underprivileged students in Texas extends beyond participation in the Mayor’s Back to School Fair in Dallas.
Tzu Chi’s Central Region Chapter, which is based in Dallas, partners with schools and hosts several school uniform distributions in August.
Volunteers have already held three distributions and given out 6,500 school uniforms so far.
Tzu Chi’s partnerships on behalf of economically disadvantaged children in Dallas are also having a wider impact on the community, as the foundation’s core values are becoming an inspiration to many they touch.
Tzu Chi’s Central Region Chapter has been working in collaboration with Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy (BOMLA) in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas for over 5 years. Nakia Douglas, BOMLA’s former principal who is now Executive Director of the South Oak Cliff Feeder Pattern, invited Tzu Chi to meet 12 principals in his school district to share Tzu Chi’s vision of Great Love:
Michelle Neely, the vice-principal of BOMLA, found Tzu Chi exemplary for a different reason:
Tzu Chi’s approach was also an inspiration to Lucy Hopkins, the dean of Barbara Jordan Elementary School, one of six elementary schools where volunteers distributed school uniforms in 2015: