Make a difference for kids like Dustin through school supplies

There’s nothing quite like the potential in a new box of crayons. Just thinking about it, you can almost smell them, can’t you? New crayons, freshly sharpened pencils and notebooks with pristine pages always create so much excitement and anticipation in children during their school days.

For most of us, buying school supplies is — or was — a late summer tradition. At Buckner International, filling backpacks is a year-round need. Here's why ...

When Dustin Haley came to the Buckner in Lubbock just before his 16th birthday, he had spent half of his life in other foster care homes ... and on the move.

Removed from his home because of his mother’s struggles with addiction, Dustin explains, “I lived with 13 different families in the span of eight years and went to 10 different schools.” Moving so often meant that Dustin had to travel light, and like most foster children, he had almost no possessions to his name.

What he did have was a sense of humor, a strong work ethic and a firm determination that the cycle of addiction and poverty would end with him. “I studied and kept to myself a lot,” Dustin remembers. “Growing up in foster care, I always used education as a way to escape what was going on because it was the one thing in my life that I could control.”

Foster children like Dustin are up against some of the toughest educational challenges in our nation. Experts agree that every time a child moves to a new school, they fall behind four to six months. And of course, they are the “new kid” all over again. You can imagine how hard Dustin had to work just to keep up with his peers, much less to excel.

Buckner has always stressed education as one of the primary factors in overcoming poverty, both for children and adults. But to truly succeed in school, both stability and the proper tools are essential — tools that most of the children Buckner serves do not have.

Will you help them succeed ... and change their lives? Every $50 you give will fill a backpack with necessary school supplies for a child in need — and provide ongoing support throughout the school year. Your generosity can give so many children hope!

Each month, more children begin a Buckner program: They visit a Family Hope Center, come to live in the Family Transition Program with a parent or enter our Foster Care Program. Like Dustin, most have little to call their own and face an uphill battle ahead.

This year alone, we’ll need to provide backpacks filled with school supplies to 667 boys and girls in Buckner programs and from low-income families in our communities. Each one will be a real boost to their education — for the supplies themselves and also by showing the children that someone cares.

At Buckner, dedicated friends like you gave Dustin stability and peace he had seldom known before as well as plenty of support for his crucial final two years of high school. His hard work took him to college, where he graduated with a degree in kinesiology and was asked to speak at commencement.

Today, Dustin is pursuing his doctorate in physical therapy at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School with the goal of becoming a physical therapist for children. He also volunteers at Buckner foster care events and plans to be actively involved in foster care advocacy.

By partnering with Buckner, you show that you realize each boy and girl who comes to Buckner is filled with potential — the potential to break the generational cycle of poverty, to become physically, spiritually and emotionally healthy adults ... and to dream big dreams and accomplish them. All they need is a little help from us.

Click here to give online now, and be sure to make a note in the comments box on the donation page that tells us you're designating your gift for school supplies.

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