A Back-to-School Experience
Update: The photos in this story were taken July 11, 2013 at the Kroger Store on SR 135. Volunteers said donations were lighter than expected probably due to school starting earlier than expected. People dropping off supplies weren’t thinking of back-to-school time in the middle of July.
To do a job well, we need the proper tools. Students are not exempt from this fact. Our youth need their school supplies in striving to do their best. Many years ago, the desire for every child to walk into school on the first day with their supplies weighed heavily on the heart of then-Sugar Grove sixth grade teacher, Kathy Sagorsky. As fate would have it, an anonymous donor gave the school a gift card for such an initiative. With the assistance of her friend and then-guidance counselor Claire Taylor, the two women called on local churches and community leaders for support with their endeavor. “Overwhelmingly, they agreed, and Fast Track was born,” Kathy recalled with a smile.
Seventy volunteers served nearly 100 students that year with t-shirts, haircuts, school supplies, immunizations, free lunch forms, shoes, and a hotdog lunch. Today, Fast Track is widely used in five school districts, including Center Grove (CG), under the United Way of Johnson County.
With the direction of Carla Slauter, CG’s Health Services Coordinator, over 420 CG students last summer received their supplies for the first day of school. “We get a percentage of funds raised by the United Way each year through their program called Stuff the Bus, but our event is mainly supported by the generous contributions from our community, its faith partners, and our corporation’s PTOs. Without their continued support, CG Fast Track as it is would not be possible.”
United Way’s Stuff the Bus collects supplies for the five participating school districts in Johnson County. Each year, a school bus parks in front of a local establishment, and it is stuffed with the customers’ generous donations. Stuff the Bus will be held this year at the Kroger on State Road 135 and Meridian Parke Drive, Thursday, July 11, from 4-8 p.m.
This spring, letters were sent out to students in need inviting them to attend the 2013 CG Fast Track. “Invitations are RSVP only through the request of each Center Grove school’s guidance counselor,” stated Carla. “But if someone comes in with a need on the day of Fast Track, we will not turn anyone away.”
There is always a need for more supplies and volunteers on this day. This year’s CG Fast Track will be held at Center Grove Middle School North (CGMSN), 202 North Morgantown Road, on Saturday, July 27 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. If you would like to help out, you may take donated items from the supplies needed list, on the right, to CGMSN. To volunteer on July 27 or if you have a question, please contact Carla Slauter at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 317-885-8800, ext. 5123.
“I have been involved with Fast Track for over 10 years, and I love to see the smiles on our students’ faces as they pick out a new backpack and other supplies with a program volunteer,” expressed Carla as her eyes gleamed with pride. “It is our hope that by supplying many of the basic school supplies, a $10 Payless Shoes voucher, free haircuts, and vision exams, it takes a little of the financial burden off these families for their child’s ‘back-to-school experience.’”