On Sunday afternoon, iLead Youth Centre hosted a Back2School Drive at Alan Kuzmich Park in Bradford, handing out 100 backpacks filled with school supplies to students.
iLead Youth Centre is a non-profit organization that facilitates leadership and cultural programs for Youths in Simcoe County and surrounding area.
Event organizer and Bradford resident Cheraldean Duhaney says the pandemic has been hard for many in the community, and wanted to do something to help those students going back to school.
"I am very passionate about the youth and serving the community," shared Duhaney, who wanted to give something to give the youth hope for the upcoming school year and a chance to pick up some back to school items.
One hundred backpacks were donated by various members of the community and organizations, along with various school supplies and learning materials for the event.
"Our goal was to give 100 backpacks," explained Duhaney.
No RSVP was necessary, and any student was welcome to come stuff a backpack to take home.
In addition to the giveaway, the youth planned their own basketball tournament at the courts at the park with the support of iLead Youth Centre.
Duhaney normally hosts other events for youth throughout the year, like the annual 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament at the Leisure Centre. Since the tournament had to be cancelled this year, she was happy to be able to host the outdoor Back2School Drive on Sunday.
At the event, Debra McKenzie founder of Diversity Kidz had her own tent set up with various books on diversity, multicultural crayons and Staedtler watercolour pencils for the students to pick up.
Diversity Kidz is based out of York Region and is a non-proift organization which aims to foster diversity through inclusion and play.
"We encourage better representation in toys and books," said McKenzie.
She was happy to come out and support the community and share information on diversity through education.
"We know that the communities in need are racialized, marginalized people who don't see themselves positively represented in kids products," she said. "As young as three, they're aware of racial differences and the social advantages/disadvantages that are aligned with race...and that's just from the toys, the books and the media they consume, so we're trying to change that, making sure classrooms are diverse and properly represented as well as in toys and books."
With the current social climate, McKenzie says they have been doing more now than ever before. This was her first time visiting Bradford, and she was happy to be able to connect with some of the students.
"I love events like this," she shared.
Students and families who stopped by were appreciative and happy to be able to stock up on supplies before the start of school in September.
"We just decided to come out and have some fun," said Luca, who is going to Grade 8 this year.
To learn more about iLead Youth Centre, check out their Facebook page here.
And for more information on Diversity Kidz, follow their Facebook page here.