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West Valley City Journal

School Partnerships Provide Students’ Necessities

Oct 07, 2016 02:28PM ● By Travis Barton

Local students at Stansbury Elementary and Franklin Elementary schools received free backpacks, shoes, school supplies, health screenings and more at Molina Healthcare’s Shoes for School events. (Stansbury Elementary)

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

The return to school meant running out for necessary back to school supplies. But for some students, two companies brought some of those supplies directly to them. 

Stansbury, Academy Park and Robert Frost Elementary Schools all received donations to mark the beginning of the school year. Stansbury received backpacks and shoes from Molina Healthcare while Discover Financial donated T-shirts and bags filled with school items such as notebooks and pencils. 

Molina hosted its fourth annual “Shoes for School” program on Aug. 17 at Franklin Elementary in Provo and Aug. 20 at Stansbury. School-focused items weren’t the only things donated.  Molina partnered with various local organizations to also provide free health screenings, vision checks, immunizations, healthy snacks, resource information and entertainment. 

“We were thrilled to host our Shoes for School event…and provide local students with the tools they need to succeed in school,” Rylee Curtis wrote in a press release. Curtis is the manager of community outreach for Molina Healthcare of Utah. 

Diane Metzler, secretary at Stansbury, said the event really helped the kids prepare for school. 

“[The kids] were able to come to school with their haircuts and their new shoes and backpacks that first day. We have a lot of them that don’t get that kind of stuff,” Metzler said. 

The event impacted 850 students at Stansbury with over 800 backpacks and shoes donated to supply students with necessary equipment for the school year. With 94 percent of Stansbury students qualified for free or reduced lunches, the donations furnish important resources for the kids. 

“We hope that our efforts promote education and work toward lowering the poverty rate of children in Utah,” Curtis wrote. 

The benefits of the experience extend to the company’s employees. Both Discover and Molina encourage their employees to volunteer and give back to ingrain it into the companies’ culture. Molina employees participated through the company’s Helping Hands volunteer program where employees are provided paid time off to volunteer. 

Discover donated 3,200 backpacks, filled with school supplies and a T-shirt, to five elementary schools in the Granite School District (GSD). One of Discover’s charitable pillars is Success in Schools by empowering youth. Matt Towson, director of community affairs, said their relationship with GSD helps their employees support that pillar. 

“Backpack drives are used as a team building opportunity, and to give our employees an opportunity to give back,” Towson said. “It all ladders up to our mission of giving people an opportunity for a brighter financial future.”

For more than 10 years, Discover and GSD have had a relationship that has also included mid-year clothing or coat drives and after-school program support. Towson said it’s a win-win partnership.

“Whenever the community and especially business can jump in and support a school district financially and through volunteerism, it can obviously help ease some budget constraints that many school districts and families typically face,” Towson said. 

Stansbury has 10 partnerships similar to the one they hold with Molina. Kenworth Sales holds a car show to help raise funds for the school while KUED sponsors different training and workshops throughout the year. All in an effort to creatively provide assistance to the school-attending families.