On Wednesday, June 23, City Electric Supply (CES) sponsored its fifth annual Back to School backpack drive event with Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC), an organization on a mission to improve the lives of abused children in Dallas County.
One of the ways DCAC improves the lives of abused children is by eliminating barriers to healing that might exist. Providing school supplies means one less thing that families with children who have suffered abuse need to worry about. They distribute around 1,500 backpacks each year, including around 500 at their annual backpack drive alone. This year’s drive saw an increase, with more than 600 handed out.
Back to School
“The impressive number really speaks to the volume of clients we are serving, and unfortunately that number is growing,” said Leila Bergquist, a development officer at DCAC. “School supplies and a backpack equip a child for school and save the family money and time. For families working through a crisis like criminal child abuse, this added support from the community prevents an overload of stress.”
That added support comes in the form of backpacks and school supplies handed straight to children at DCAC.
“City Electric Supply has worked with DCAC on several projects but has partnered to the full extent on our Back to School program,” said Bergquist. “From covering the expense of supplies to volunteering to stuff and distribute the backpack, without CES, we could not do this on our own. We are so grateful for this close partnership.”
As it turns out, CES feels the same way about DCAC. Just ask Social Impact Manager Karen Gray for CES Cares, a program that serves as an umbrella for all the philanthropic, charitable, and volunteer efforts in which CES and its employees participate.
“DCAC is such a valued partner. DCAC is definitely a perfect choice for CES Cares,” said Gray. “Kids don’t have control over their lives a lot of the time, so helping them is really important.”
CES Shows Up
Gray, along with CES employees Elizabeth Scoular, Brooke Williams, Cree Crowder, and Janan Buisier, even showed up to help with the event.
“We were glad CES employees could be there to see the record-breaking event, especially when in-person volunteering has not been possible for over a year,” said Bergquist. “It’s so special seeing the children’s faces light up when they see their backpack or their supplies, and that is because of CES.”
“We picked out a shiny backpack for a girl in kindergarten, and her eyes lit up,” added Gray. “It was so amazing seeing her so excited. It seems like a small thing for people to stuff backpacks and hand them out, but it really has an effect on these kids’ lives.”
Bergquist also pointed out that while DCAC serves many demographics from many zip codes, all clients share one thing in common — criminal child abuse. For many, these backpacks are a critical need.
“DCAC wants to fill that need and provide everything clients need to be successful,” explained Bergquist. “We want to eliminate anything that may hinder them from focusing on their healing from these horrific crimes. With positive support, there is resilience!”
Seeing Kids Smile
And Bergquist enjoys spending her days doing exactly that.
“DCAC is a special place to work. I love coming in to work every day,” said Bergquist. “The work we do helps children overcome the trauma of abuse and reach their full potential. I love seeing kids smile and knowing that we’re making a difference.”
Bergquist wants to remind anyone in the Dallas area that while each child at DCAC has a difficult story, DCAC is not a sad place.
“It’s hard to hear the stories of why children come to DCAC, but there is hope and healing here,” said Bergquist. “I want to invite anyone to come see how they can be a part of a child overcoming abuse. Each of us plays a role in this work, and we can’t do this alone.”
“I encourage everyone to look into what DCAC does,” added Gray. “Their accomplishments will amaze and astound you. And I encourage everyone to look for other places in their community doing amazing work. When you volunteer, you get so much more out of it than you give.”
We are so proud of the work DCAC is doing and the support they receive from employees like Gray that will no doubt continue for years to come.