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Support Fourth Annual SYC Back To School Bash

Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid (SYC/W6MA) today kicked off its second annual Back to School Bash (B2SB) fundraiser aimed at providing critical support like digital devices, school supplies and other enrichment programming to Black and Brown students in the District.

Since the inaugural B2SB in 2020, SYC/W6MA has supported over 3,000 DC students and more than 1,000 individual families. Over 80 percent of the backpacks distributed went to students who live in a household with a household income of less than $50,000 annually. Over 90 percent have been distributed to Black or Hispanic students.

A woman examines a table of free books at SYC/W6MA B2SB 2021. The fourth annual event takes place at Eastern Market Metro Park in 2023.

At this event, students and their families have the opportunity to pick up a brand-new backpack filled with comprehensive school supplies and a digital device, learn about and sign-up for SYC/W6MA Tutoring and Youth Enrichment Programs, get assistance in filling out required paperwork for school and get required immunizations, including the COVID-19 vaccine, and much, much more.

This is B2SB Senior Year –the fourth year of the celebration. To celebrate, SYC/W6MA have set a cumulative (rather than annual) goal – to support 5,000 DC students through the four years of the B2SB. They need to raise $220,000 to make it happen. It’s an ambitious goal–but it can be done.

Families line up to receive backpacks full of supplies at SYC/W6MA B2SB 2021.

Here’s how you can support students:

The funds go to new devices, internet hotspots and school supply packages, as students and families faced immense challenges: A gaping digital divide cutting the most vulnerable off from virtual access, 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 on the occasion of the first B2SB.

SYC ED Maurice Cook (L) and Pranav Nanda speak at the 2021 SYC W6MA B2SB.

Cook said inequities will persist 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.

If you have any questions or want to get involved, please reach out at b2sb@serveyourcitydc.org. Learn more about SYC/W6MA and the B2SB by visiting serveyourcitydc.org/b2sb/

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