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UMass Medical School helps equip young Worcester students for new school year

By Megan Bard

UMass Medical School Communications

August 28, 2019
  • Members of the UMass Medical School community prepare to distribute backpacks to students at Grafton Street Elementary School.
  • Students at Grafton Street Elementary School with their new packpacks
  • Members of the UMass Medical School community prepare to distribute backpacks to students at Union Hill Elementary School.
  • Members of the UMass Medical School community prepare to distribute backpacks to students at Rice Square Elementary School.

Dozens of UMass Medical School staff greeted elementary school students at three Worcester Public Schools on Tuesday morning, welcoming them to a new school year and providing them with backpacks full of school supplies.

The initiative is part of the Medical School’s North Quadrant Support Services program.

“We do this because it is the right thing to do and that sentiment is affirmed by the smiles on the children’s faces when they receive their bags and the gratitude from parents as one of their burdens is lifted,” said Kola Akindele, JD, assistant vice chancellor for city and community relations. “This is also an investment in our future. Worcester is our community and what better way to secure its future than ensuring its future leaders are prepared to succeed.”

In all, 770 backpacks were distributed by UMass Medical School employees to students at the Rice Square, Union Hill and Grafton Street elementary schools, in first through third grades.

The North Quadrant Support Services program was launched to address some of the socioeconomic barriers to academic success. With the support of a grant from the medical school’s Remillard Community Service Fund and nearly $100,000 in donations from medical school employees and students, the North Quadrant Support Services program built and stocked a food pantry at North High School, installed washers and dryers in schools where students lacked access, and provided more than 1,700 backpacks filled with school supplies to elementary school children. The program has also funded 60 classroom initiatives over two years, fulfilling teachers’ wishes for a wide variety of assistance.

Related stories on UMassMedNow:
Kola Akindele to serve as assistant vice chancellor for city and community relations
UMass Medical School supports Recreation Worcester summer program
Worcester Public Schools and UMass Medical School unveil family support services initiative

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