Ward 6 Mutual Aid Kicks Off Back to School Fundraiser

Event Aims to Give Quality Supplies to Assist Students in Return to School

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Volunteers work at the 2020 W6MA Back to School Bash for students who need supplies and devices. Photo: Elizabeth Dranitzke, Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid

Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid (SYC/W6MA) today kicked off its second annual Back to School Bash fundraiser aimed at providing critical support like digital devices, school supplies and other enrichment programming to Black and Brown students in the District.

Last year, in the thick of the pandemic, the first annual Back to School event reached more than 425 families and distributed 300 new devices, internet hotspots and supply packages, as students and families faced immense challenges: A gaping digital divide cutting the most vulnerable off from virtual learning, underinvestments in critical school resources and aging infrastructure, and a lack of access to the kind of supports needed for a successful school year.

“These problems are not new — they are the result of years of structural and systemic injustice in the District. But we also know that the pandemic had an outsized impact on our Black and Brown students and families,” said Maurice Cook, Serve Your City Executive Director and lead organizer with Ward 6 Mutual Aid.

Cook said inequities will persist into a return to in-person activity unless the community steps up together to address them. “There is enough love in this city to take care of everyone here,” he said. “Our work is to capture that love and make sure it gets to the youth and families who need it most.”

Building off the success of last year’s inaugural Back to School Bash, the team hopes to reach and support even more students this year through the backpack drive and other programming.

“We are putting together a backpack that is truly comprehensive, and, unlike many back-to-school programs, we are giving Black and Brown students access to the same supplies that their white counterparts will receive,” said Back to School Bash organizer Pranav Nanda. Screenshot: www.serveyorcitydc.org

Unlike last year, SYC/W6MA will be able to host an in-person event for students and families at the end of August to receive their backpacks and learn more about the organization’s virtual tutoring, extracurricular classes and enrichment programming like horseback riding, rowing, music and art lessons, and trapeze classes.

This year’s fundraiser will run through Sept. 10, 2021.

Here’s how to get involved with the Back to School Bash:

Find out more at serveyourcitydc.org/b2sb.