Back to School

Every year, high school students herald the end of the summer with a mad rush to stock up on school supplies for the coming year. Pencils, pens, and everything in between can contribute to a student’s success and future chances at taking the next step toward post-secondary education. However, many Native American students who live in remote or geographically-isolated reservations are not able to secure the basic supplies needed to do well in school.

For many Native students, a lack of school supplies often stems from a lack of resources at home and in their remote tribal community. Today, 35 percent of Native American children live below the poverty line, which often hinders back-to-school readiness. As schools within many reservation communities struggle with understaffing or inadequate funding, they are not always able to help students with school supplies and other needs, and for some communities, there is an absence of retail stores where school supplies can be purchased.

The American Indian Education Fund (AIEF), a program of Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA), helps school partners tackle this issue by providing school supplies to K-12 students. In 2016, PWNA was able to assist about 26,000 students at 70 reservation schools, through its annual Backpack Drive that delivers backpacks and school supplies to students across Indian Country.

The organization’s 2017 Backpack Drive begins July 17, and is an opportunity to support K-12 Native students again and ensure a positive start to their school year.

Juanita, a fifth-grade student from a pueblo in New Mexico, received school supplies from PWNA and was so happy that she sent a handwritten note of thanks to the organization, stating “I like the things you did for my school,” and asking, “Do you do this for other schools?”

Stories like Juanita’s illustrate the impact a small donation can have, and are why PWNA continues to support Native students. Please join us in our effort to ensure Native American students get the support they need to succeed in grades K-12, and accomplish their goals for college, service and self-sufficiency, by donating to the 2017 Backpack Drive.

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