Students Need School Supplies to Thrive, No Matter School Looks Like This Fall
By Erin Johnson, EBC School Supply Volunteer

Eight years ago, I went to work for a company that encouraged me to volunteer 40 hours a year and paid me to do so, I was excited. I didn’t have a place where I volunteered on a regular basis so I was looking for something that I could do that was close to home. I came across Eastside Baby Corner and I knew that was where I wanted to spend my time. After about a year of volunteering there I was asked to take on the school supplies orders. I jumped at the opportunity! Filling the school supplies orders has been extremely fulfilling and I enjoy every minute of it.

I think no matter what school looks like for families and students this fall, it is important for students to have the supplies they need to feel confident and successful. I believe that children that have a higher readiness for school will be more successful long term. When kids start school unprepared, it can be difficult for them to fit in with other kids and make friends. Kids that are under the poverty level have enough to worry about, the last thing they need to worry about should be school supplies. Having adequate school supplies helps them to build their self-esteem and confidence when they have the same things as other children. Every child should have access to what they need to start their first day of school. I think I share the same opinion as Eastside Baby Corner and want to make sure that every child is prepared for success in the classroom, even if that classroom is the dining room table at home.

Eastside Baby Corner’s mission to help kids thrive by supplying kids with school supplies from preschool age children to 12 years old. Parents can spend upwards of $700 on school supplies for the upcoming school year. Not everyone can afford that and that’s where we come in to help. EBC provides school supplies all year round to kids in need. We break these down into 3 different age groups where we are providing supplies from learning / activity books for the younger children to 3-ring binders, filler paper, graph paper, comp books, pencils, pens, etc. for the older children. This time of year is when the supply starts to run low and that’s where you come in.

Help Kids with Back to School

Items that are high needs:

• College Ruled Comp Books & Filler Paper
• Wide Ruled Comp Books & Filler Paper
• Graph paper
• Dry Erase Markers
• Pencil Sharpeners
• Sharpies
• Crayons for all ages
• Colored Pencils
• Markers
• Glue sticks
• Scissors (pointed and blunt)
• Backpacks for Girls ages 5-12
• Backpacks for Boys ages 5-12

School supplies we can’t re-distribute:

• Backpacks with embroidered names
• Pens & Pencils that are branded with a company name

 

Meet Our Founder – Karen Ridlon

Karen Ridlon founded Eastside Baby Corner (EBC) in 1990.   A certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (University of California, San Francisco, 1972), Karen worked as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in California and Washington, working in well child care, newborn care and newborn ICU support for a number of medical groups and doctors. Karen founded Eastside Baby Corner to fill an unmet need of parents of newborns who lacked basic supplies for their children.

She is Executive Director Emeritus and a lifetime member of the EBC Board of Directors. Karen has been recognized for her efforts with many volunteer awards, including receiving the Leadership Eastside LENi Community Choice Leadership Award in 2013, Distinguished Member Award for the Washington State Chapter of NAPNAP (National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners) in 2013, Issaquah Schools Foundation Golden Apple Award (2009), and chosen as a UCSF Distinguished Alumni. Karen was a key player in the development of the Issaquah Community Center and has been a tireless contributor to many volunteer efforts over the years including scouting, the public schools, and her church. Karen is the mother of three children and a proud resident of Issaquah, where she lives with her husband. 

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