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Originally published Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 4:39 PM

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School supplies | The tools of learning: magic in a backpack

Please donate to The Seattle Times Fund for the Needy school-supplies campaign. Help provide the tools of learning.

Seattle Times Editorial

How to help

READERS ARE INVITED to send a donation to The School Supply Drive of The Seattle Times Fund for the Needy, P.O. Box C-11025, Seattle, WA, 98111. For donations via debit or credit card, email: pdelaney@seattletimes.com
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When I was a child many years ago one of my dreams was to make a law that no business... MORE
It would help if teachers and schools didn't require large amounts of supplies to be... MORE
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HELPING needy students return to school in the fall equipped to learn directly contributes to their success in the classroom.

Having all the grade-appropriate school supplies means they can focus on their education, not the economic turmoil at home. Their grateful parents also have one less strain on the family budget to worry about.

A donation to the editorial-page campaign of The Seattle Times Fund for the Needy also accomplishes a bit of magic. Students arriving on the first day of school with their backpacks crammed with supplies simply disappear. They blend in with everyone else.

Not showing up empty-handed means no awkward moments while teachers scramble to provide supplies often purchased with their own funds. Everyone remembers the relief of simply fitting in. For students from struggling families, it is a special gift.

Helping students move ahead with their schooling can take many creative forms. Rainier Beach High School in South Seattle has a mentoring program, Community for Youth, that helps students graduate and points them toward trade and vocational schools and colleges and universities.

Two other programs step up to maintain the momentum. Rainier's Dollars for Scholars helps with academic scholarships, and Tools4Grads helps supply computers and textbooks. A continuum of attention and assistance pays dividends in graduations.

Empowering change is as basic as pencils, pens, notebooks and crayons. The Times' school-supply drive divides donations among three excellent agencies: Hopelink, the YWCA of Seattle-King County-Snohomish County and the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness. They screen applicants, buy and organize the supplies and distribute them.

Please help provide the magic found in a backpack of school supplies.

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