Making the Grade: How Property Management Can Help Kids Succeed

Although your residents (and their kids) may want to deny it, summer’s nearly over and school’s about to start back up. That means 77 million students– 55.5 million of which are in elementary school through high school– will be entering classrooms.

For many of us, the thought of returning to school creates visions of new, crisp notebooks, a superhero book bag, a graphing calculator, gel pens in all the coolest colors, and a sturdy new lunchbox. However, for far too many people, the reality is much starker.

The National School Lunch Program will provide free or low cost lunches to over 31 million students this school year. Children qualify if their families make at or below 130% and 185% of the poverty line, respectively. For a family of four, that equals $29,965 or $42,643 in total household income. Many families who struggle to feed their children will likewise have difficulty affording new school supplies. Particularly in low-income districts, entire classrooms may go without adequate books, paper, and markers. To compensate, 92% of teachers often buy additional supplies from their own accounts or copy texts on a copier, amounting to over $1.33 billion during the 2009-2010 school year.

shutterstock_15990961-resized-600Understandably, students who lack supplies can become frustrated and have a difficult time learning, which in turn can lead to higher dropout rates and fewer degrees. Conversely, students who are supported in their education have an easier time succeeding, and their success can positively influence neighborhoods and communities.

So, what can a property manager do about this? The answer is fairly straight forward: Provide the needed materials for the students. Specifically, properties using Residential Management can leverage the inherent community of a residential complex to help students through hosting a school supply drive.

Create an event in Resident Connect or send out an email announcing the drive. Then set up a drop box or receiving area in an accessible place, and then invite your residents to donate supplies such as the following:

  • Book bags
  • Lined paper and notebooks
  • Pens and pencils
  • Crayons and markers
  • Erasers
  • Dry erase markers
  • Glue sticks and tape
  • Binders and folders

Of course, while it’s easy to get excited about providing crayons for coloring, don’t forget older high school students who may need the following:

  • Messenger bags
  • Calculators
  • Protractors
  • Staplers
  • Art, cooking, or sewing class supplies

Properties can likewise encourage their residents to donate gift cards, which can provide students not only with the necessary supplies, but also with the excitement of being able to pick out the items themselves. Finally, supplies can also include hygiene products, such as soap and paper towels.

Once you’ve gathered all of the donations, drop them off at a local needy school (call ahead to see if they have a delivery preference) or give them to a charity such as the Kids in Need Foundation, which works to provide teachers with free supplies for their students.

All kids deserve the best start they can get to their education. A lack of a pencil should not be a reason for failure!

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