Through 'I Have a Dream' Oregon, Reynolds students receive packs filled with school supplies

Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Students and parents lined up at Alder Elementary School for free backpacks filled with school supplies on Thursday, Aug. 21. The free backpacks are part of the 'I Have A Dream' Oregon program that helps low-income students.

A line of families wrapped around Alder Elementary School Thursday, Aug. 21, as students in the Reynolds School District picked up backpacks and school supplies.

American families are spending an estimated $100-$200 on basic school supplies this fall.

With 97 percent of Alder students on free or reduced lunch, “I Have a Dream” Oregon, its donors and Fred Meyer partnered to provide the backpacks and school supplies for 800 students in the district.

Afterward, students got to play career dress-up for a photo booth, eat ice cream and snacks and meet program managers from Alder, Reynolds Middle School, H.B. Lee Middle School and Reynolds High.

“It’s really nice when you have people who can help out with this,” said Katrina Blackwell, a mother of five children, preschool through high school age. “It's always my biggest worry when school is about to start.”

Blackwell said she eventually would love to volunteer at a event like Thursday’s and bring her children to help.

Alder Elementary became the first Dreamer School in the nation in 2010.

Through “I Have a Dream” Oregon, Dreamer students from low-income communities are supported into high school and beyond, with the goal of helping them pursue post-secondary education and economic independence in adulthood.

“I think it’s pretty awesome they’re having us do this,” said Mark Freeman, an incoming Reynolds freshman. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - David Pryce, left, and Desiree Hansen, both of Gresham, hand out markers and glue sticks at Alder Elementary School, where 800 students received backpacks filled with school supplies as part of the 'I Have A Dream' Oregon program.

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