You Matter 2 volunteers raise funds for school supplies giveaway

  You Matter 2 volunteers Lauren Donaire, left, and Ethan
  Gamble wash a car in the near-100 degree heat on
  July 20 in order to help raise money for the
  organization’s Back to School Bash.

  (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 
Try being a carpenter without a hammer.

Try being a plumber without a wrench.

Try being a computer programmer without a computer to program.

It doesn’t work well.

Try being a student without a backpack, pens, pencils, erasers, folders, binders, glue sticks, scissors, pencil cases, markers, crayons, notebooks, index cards and highlighters.
You Matter 2 aims to see that area students are well-equipped to succeed as the new semester begins soon.
 
  Destiny Watson and her
  mother, Tamika Britten,
  background, towel off a car
  during the You Matter 2 car
  wash fundraiser at Glenwood
  Fire Station No. 2 on July 20.
  The money raised was use to
  buy school supplies to be given
  away during the organization’s
  Back to School Bash.
(Eric Crump/
  H-F Chronicle)
 

The local youth philanthropy organization, founded in 2014 by Destiny Watson, then a sophomore at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, held its fourth annual Back to School Bash July 27 at Izaak Walton Nature Preserve. 

The junior and senior high school students of You Matter 2 worked all summer to stock the event, holding fundraisers and supply drives. They collected about $200 at a June 30 fundraiser at Forever Yogurt in Homewood. They held a car wash at Living Spring Church in Glenwood on June 21. 

And on the hottest day of the summer so far, July 20, a group of You Matter 2 volunteers spent four hours at Glenwood Fire Station No. 2 washing cars to raise another $200-plus for the project. The heat index exceed 100 degrees for most of that time.

Watson said the idea for the school supply project occurred to her in 2015.

“We started giving out school supplies at school open houses, like Heather Hill. I wanted to make it a bigger thing for the community,” she said. “School supplies can definitely be very expensive when schools require students to have so many items that eventually have to be replenished throughout the school year.”

The organization started holding car washes and other fundraisers to build its inventory of school supplies for an annual event to distribute the material to students in the area. Each fundraiser is also a supply collection point for people who want to contribute school materials in addition to money.

About 15 volunteers, grades 7 through 12, have worked on the project each year, Watson said. 

The Back to School Bash is a little festival, with inflatables for kids to play on and food to sustain families as they gather supplies. 

More than 200 students have benefited from the project, according to Watson. The Back to School Bash mostly serves families in the South Suburbs, but there is no geographical restriction and no requirement to demonstrate need.

“Families, especially parents, are very appreciative of saving the hassle of having to buy school supplies, so to be able to provide something free for families is always a great feeling for us, because we’re releasing burdens from a lot of families,” Watson said.

The organization also hosts a food drive each fall called We Scare Hunger Trail. Members also have cooked and served food for the South Suburban PADS program to help the homeless. And they participate each year in Flossmoor’s MLK Day of Service.

Anyone who wants to contribue to You Matter 2 projects can do so by visiting youmatter2.org/donate. Students grades 7 through 12 who want to join the effort can sign up at youmatter2.org/join.


 

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