School Uniforms for Dallas Kids

Central  |  August 17, 2016

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:

In the past 5 years, all the students in Obama middle school have been learning about Tzu Chi’s Bamboo Bank story. We hope our students will get into the habit of saving and doing good deeds.

Nakia Douglas, Executive Director, South Oak Cliff Feeder Pattern

Michelle Neely, the vice-principal of BOMLA, found Tzu Chi exemplary for a different reason:

We really love Tzu Chi! With their positive influence, we launched a vegetarian program in our school, in an effort to have a positive impact on the environment.

Michelle Neely, Vice-Principal, Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy

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:

Tzu Chi is not just distributing school uniforms, but also love. I felt deeply touched by Tzu Chi volunteers when they sang at the distribution event. I admire how all the volunteers help others selflessly. I promise that you will see what I see about Tzu Chi’s Great Love spirit after you know them better.

Lucy Hopkins, Dean, Barbara Jordan Elementary School

That’s what it’s all about for Tzu Chi volunteers in Dallas, beginning with the gift of school uniforms for children in need, then blossoming into a message of universal love for one and all.

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