Getting ready for school

Ensuring students have supplies for new year

Readiness To Learn’s annual Back To School Program is underway to ensure students have what they need to focus on learning and not worrying for the first day of the new school year.

The Family Resource Center at the South Whidbey Community Center has been transformed into a no-cost store for eligible families and students to pick out the back-to-school supplies that teachers ask students bring for the start of the school year.

“The cost of school supplies can be kind of daunting,” volunteer and family support specialist Cailyn Murray said. “It helps families to have what they need.”

They’ve seen an increase in low income families at the school district and a rising homeless student count, she said.

The program has assisted with school supplies for over 15 years.

For the next two weeks, back-to-school supplies will be available at the center now set up as store for scheduled shoppers to pick up backpacks, notebooks, paper, pens, pencils and more.

The majority of what is found on school supply lists can be found at the center, Murray said.

Last year, 330 students from 153 local families selected supplies from the Back to School store, executive director Gail LaVassar said in a letter as part of a donation campaign. Donations be made at the community center or through the website.

Murray said they are seeking listening devices, such as headphones and earbuds, as well as paper, binders, composition books, dry erase markers and more.

So far, 120 appointment have been scheduled, but she anticipates many more will sign up, Murray said. The program is completely funded by donations.

Eligibility is based on financial need, according to the program website, which can be caused by a variety of factors. Need can be caused by a recent move, underemployment, divorce, medical bills and or other circumstances making it difficult to add in school supply costs.

• To schedule an appointment, you may call 360-221-6808 ext 4321 and leave a message, or email