Equipping local students for a new school year

Written by Chaplain Jonathan Alexander
Coast Guard Base National Capital Region

Personnel from the Coast Guard Headquarters, Department of Homeland Security, and General Services Administration deliver 323 backpacks for elementary students in three District of Columbia Housing Administration communities. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Personnel from the Coast Guard Headquarters, Department of Homeland Security, and General Services Administration deliver 323 backpacks for elementary students in three District of Columbia Housing Administration communities. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

This summer, Coast Guard Headquarters partnered with Department of Homeland Security and General Services Administration personnel on the historic St. Elizabeths campus to donate backpacks and school supplies for kindergarten through fifth grade students in several Washington, D.C., communities.

The results of the 2018 Back-to-School Backpack Drive were amazing with 323 backpacks filled with the necessary school supplies to help students start the school year off right. Additionally, 52 volunteers helped prepare and deliver the backpacks to the local community.

Petty Officer 1st Class Justin Underwood helps prepare backpacks for the 2018 St. Elizabeths Campus Back-to-School Backpack Drive in Washington, D.C. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Petty Officer 1st Class Justin Underwood helps prepare backpacks for the 2018 St. Elizabeths Campus Back-to-School Backpack Drive in Washington, D.C. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

“Programs like the Back-to-School Backpack Drive highlight the Coast Guard’s values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty,” said Rear Adm. Tony Vogt, Assistant Commandant for Response and executive sponsor for the drive. “At our core, we are an organization that cares for and serves people. Once again, we demonstrated who we truly are and what matters most to us.”

“The generosity of our Coast Guard family makes organizing charity events fun and rewarding,” said Barbara Whitelaw, who serves on the Backpack Drive leadership team. “The smiles and gratitude from the families we serve with these projects make our efforts worthwhile. Together, we make a difference in our local D.C. neighborhoods!”

Coast Guard Headquarters has a positive history of engaging the surrounding community. One important partnership has been with the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) Office, who provides affordable housing to low-income residents. Coast Guard Headquarters also partners with DCHA during the holidays for the Adopt-a-Teen Gift Bag Drive.

Volunteers from the Coast Guard Headquarters take a group photo after helping prepare 323 backpacks for elementary students in several Washington, D.C., communities. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Volunteers from Coast Guard Headquarters take a group photo after helping prepare 323 backpacks for elementary students in several Washington, D.C., communities. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

“The children who received a book bag and supplies will start the school year ready to compete,” said Ron Friday, Office of DCHA Resident Services . “It is truly a blessing! None of this would have been possible without the partnership of our good neighbors, the U.S. Coast Guard. As the African Proverb states, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ Nothing is more evident than when we can support a child’s education. They are our future, and we are pleased that Coast Guard Headquarters is helping us forge a brighter way for them.”

When we partner with local communities around Coast Guard installations, we embody and model what it means to be Semper Paratus — “always ready” to sacrificially serve for the betterment of our nation.

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