As the upcoming school year approaches, many families face the difficult task of purchasing a lengthy list of school supplies when money for housing, food and other life necessities is already stretched thin.
One local organization is working to alleviate this stress for thousands of Fairfax County families.
Fairfax-based nonprofit Britepaths is seeking community donations for its Back to School Drive, which can be made through its website until Aug. 31. Checks, made out to Britepaths, can also be mailed to 3959 Pender Drive, Suite 200, Fairfax, Virginia 22030 with “BTS23” as the memo line.
The funds will provide new backpacks and school supplies to 2,500 Fairfax County Public Schools students in need, according to a press release. A donation of $25 will provide supplies and a backpack for one student.
“It is incredible to think about the fact that Fairfax County is one of the five wealthiest counties in the country, and yet one in 14 children in our community lives in poverty,” Britepaths’ Executive Director Lisa Whetzel said. “…Community members who sponsor students in our Back to School campaign are doing so much more than providing supplies and backpacks. They’re helping young people whose lives can be stressful start off the school year with confidence, dignity and the tools they need to succeed.”
Recipients of these supplies include elementary schools — Daniels Run, Eagle View, Providence, Willow Springs, Bailey’s Upper and Glen Forest — as well as high schools like Fairfax, Fairfax Adult, Justice, and Lewis.
Organizations may also choose to sponsor or cosponsor all students at a specific partner school. This year, local car dealership Jim McKay Chevrolet chose to sponsor Willow Springs students.
“Our personal connections to Willow Springs Elementary School and knowledge of the work that Britepaths does made it an easy decision to become a sponsor for Britepaths’ Back to School program,” Jim McKay Chevrolet President Kathy McKay said. “We hope the community will join us in supporting this effort to ensure that students are ready to learn at the start of the school year.”
Britepaths has been supporting Fairfax County and Northern Virginia residents in need since 1984. It aims to “stabilize families with supplemental food and financial assistance” and “build resilience through financial education and workforce development coaching and IT training,” the press release says.
In 2023, the nonprofit assisted 11,000 individuals in over 7,000 households using community funding and volunteer support.
For more information, Britepaths can be reached by phone at 703-273-8829 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Updated at 11:50 p.m.) An instructional assistant at Glen Forest Elementary School in Bailey’s Crossroads was allegedly seen assaulting a student with disabilities last month.
Fairfax County Police Department detectives served a warrant for simple assault to Meredith Capets, a 36-year-old Alexandria resident, after she turned herself in at the Adult Detention Center last night (Tuesday), the department reported this morning.
According to police, another Glen Forest employee saw Capets assault the student on Dec. 8.
“The employee immediately reported the assault to school administrators,” the FCPD said. “Officers were notified of the incident that evening. Detectives conducted numerous interviews.”
Detectives with the department’s child abuse squad obtained the warrant yesterday. After being served, Capets was released on an unsecured bond.
Capets was placed on administrative leave “immediately” after the school learned about the assault, Glen Forest principal Diane Herndon-Wilson said in a message to families.
“As principal, my primary responsibility is the safety and security of everyone who enters the doors of Glen Forest,” Herndon-Wilson wrote. “This is something I take very seriously. As educators, we are entrusted with the wellbeing of the children in our care every day. It deeply affects us when someone appears to have broken that trust.”
The FCPD says anyone with additional information about the case can contact its Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800, option 3, or submit an anonymous tip via Crime Solvers by phone (1-866-411-TIP) or online.
This is the fifth incident reported in 2022 where an FCPS employee allegedly assaulted a student with disabilities. An assistant at Dogwood Elementary School was arrested for an assault in September, and a Marshall High School special education teacher was arrested last month for assaulting a student twice.
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