DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN— The NAACP hosted their annual Back to School/Stay in School event Wednesday morning, giving away 2000 backpacks full of school supplies to kids in underserved communities.
The event is a 28-year tradition of the NAACP and is just one part of their work to get kids to care about school.
"We are proud to be supplying so many kids with the tools they need to go to school," said Hazel N. Dukes, President of the NAACP New York State Conference. "Education is at the core of all of our work."
The school dropout rates in Brooklyn have been steadily decreasing since 2005, according to the Center for the Study of Brooklyn, hovering at around 11 percent in 2010.
The Brooklyn NAACP said it encourages young people to graduate by providing them school mentoring and working with parents to be more involved in their children's educational life. And for kids who can't afford notebooks and pencils that schools no longer provide, the backpack giveaway program has been crucial.
"During these tough economic times it's more important than ever to support families in preparing students for school," said Karen Boykin-Towns, President of the Brooklyn NAACP, in a press release. "We are pleased to have provided 11,500 backpacks to students over the past six years."
Children were happy to receive their bright blue backpacks in the courtyard of Borough Hall.
Samantha Evans, 9, from Buschwick was one of the first to get her pack. "It makes me feel like I am more prepared to go to school and learn," she said.