Four weeks ago, the Marshall Fire devastated our community, and left many of our family, our friends, and our colleagues unexpectedly displaced. Our schools and neighborhoods are collectively grieving and working to help each other rebuild, both physically and emotionally.
We remain grateful to every individual, business and community partner who’s reached out to us looking for ways to help. Thanks to this generous outpouring of support, we’ve raised over $700,000 through our Critical Needs Fund to support BVSD students and staff.
We’ve already distributed backpacks full of school supplies to students who lost their homes and here are five additional ways we’re supporting recovery for the BVSD community right now.
1. Providing 900 “Comfort Kits” to displaced students and staff
Thanks to a generous donation of backpacks from JanSport, we’ve been working with local volunteers to build “comfort kits” by filling these backpacks with gift cards, blankets, art supplies, journals, letters of support from students and community members and other age-appropriate items.
This week, schools will receive enough “comfort kits” for every student that is still displaced by the Marshall Fire and included on the McKinney-Vento roster. Soon after, kits will also be delivered to each of BVSD’s over 70 displaced staff members.
We’d like to say thank you to JanSport, Boulder Book Store, Grandrabbit’s Toy Shoppe, and every individual and business that has made a donation of their time or resources.
2. Supporting the mental health of students and staff
Families rebuilding their lives after the devastation of the Marshall Fire face a mountain of challenges, and that stress and uncertainty weighs heavily on them. In close coordination with BVSD Student Support Services, we are working to secure funding to increase the number of Mental Health Advocates available and programming that will support the emotional well-being of students and staff. The Marshall Fire’s impact on our community’s well-being is significant, and we feel strongly that we must immediately increase the mental health services available to BVSD students.
3. Transportation stipends
With students from Louisville and Superior now displaced and living all across the Front Range, getting students to and from school each day presents a new and immediate challenge for families. With the shortage of bus drivers, providing additional routes and changing current routes cannot reach all displaced families. BVSD is promoting the school pool program, in the hope that families will be able to help others who need help getting kids to school, but carpools and buses are not enough.
The McKinney-Vento Act provides an optional reimbursement for personal transportation costs, but it’s modest and barely covers the cost of gas. Impact on Education is supplementing the transportation reimbursement so all families who now have to drive their students further can be fully reimbursed for those costs. We know it’s not the same as living in the neighborhood, but we hope it makes things a little easier for families who are struggling.
4. Replacing instruments and athletic equipment
Working closely with our partners at BVSD, we are identifying students that are missing academic materials, including textbooks, library books, musical instruments, Chromebooks and athletic equipment. When these items can’t be replaced with a donation or insurance, Impact on Education is paying for replacements so each student can fully engage in school. From golf clubs and violins to textbooks and hockey pads, we’re making sure students can return to their learning, their music, athletic endeavors and other extracurriculars without delay.
5. Crocs donating shoes to every BVSD student and staff member
You may have already seen that Crocs committed to providing over 30,000 pairs of Crocs to students and staff in the Boulder Valley School District. We’ve all been through a lot, and this generous donation is extra special because it will provide a little comfort to the entire BVSD community of students, educators, administrators and staff. We’re helping facilitate the distribution of Crocs in the coming months, starting with our schools impacted most by the wildfire.
What lies ahead
We’re only able to do all of this impactful work with the support of volunteers and community partners, and our work is not done. Your help allows our small staff team to continue focusing on tackling the ongoing needs of all students.
We’re working on providing summer learning opportunities for 160 rising kindergarten students, facilitating a Career Readiness Academy for low-income BVSD high school students, and addressing economic and learning barriers that curtail student success
The importance of our mission does not change during a crisis. The students in our community rely on us to ensure they have the resources needed to fully engage in their learning. Our work to empower students and educators drives us in good times and in challenging times, too.