2015 Pack2School – it’s about more than just school supplies

Pack2School_2The beginning of a new school year is always exciting, regardless of what grade you’re in. New clothes, new classes and new friends all help to make the prospect of a new school season an exciting adventure. But for some kids, the new school year can be a time of worrying and frustration. Some families facing financial hardships struggle to provide their children basic school supplies and worry how they can get their kids ready to start the new school year. OtterCares understands that kids need the right tools to be successful and we are committed to helping take some of the stress off of parents concerned about affording school supplies for the children. Through our Pack2School program, we help parents and students prepare for a great school year.

1OtterCares’ annual Pack2School program provides school supplies and backpacks to students in need, grades K-12, in the Poudre School District. This one-day event provides opportunities for these students and their families to “shop” for school supplies that we provide at no cost to them as well as participate in fun learning activities that engages and encourages kids to create, learn and explore. This event also provides an opportunity for hundreds of our employees to engage in a community volunteer activity where they experience the joy of giving back.

7This year’s Pack2School theme was, “You can change the world!”. OtterCares believes that one young and inspired mind change the world. We champion new and interactive learning opportunities that inspire students to learn that they are capable of anything, helping to breaking down limitations and teaching kids that they CAN. Pack2School is one opportunity for OtterCares and employee volunteers to inspire students before the school year starts, giving them the support and encouragement they need to start the school year off right.

3Nearly 1,800 qualified students from the Poudre School District participated in this year’s Pack2School event. Students picked out their supplies and participated in fun activities the helped them learn more about being an entrepreneur and philanthropist. Students had the chance to play with robots, learn about fun activities they could be a part of such as the Young Entrepreneur Tournament and Pretty Brainy and played interactive learning games designed to help students use critical thinking and creation skills. Over 270 Otter Products volunteers contributed more than 900 hours managing registration, helping students pick out their supplies, working with kids in setting personal goals and talking to them about the new school year.

One Otter Products volunteer, Jimmy, shared his experience with one of the students, saying, “I had a super fun experience with a 1st grade girl. We got her backpack, she smiled the whole time [while] we put all of her supplies in her pack. We had a lot of fun getting her ready for school in that five minute time period it took to get her stuff. After that I told her good luck and have a great school year. She walked over to me, hugged my leg and said ‘This was the best first day of school ever!’. I about lost it!”.

6The Pack2School program strives to be more than just a school supplies program – the program and all of its volunteers work to bring hope and encouragement to the lives of students and their parents. Through fun learning games that help kids exercise their critical thinking skills and exposing students to extracurricular activities that can help broaden their learning experiences, Pack2School creates an environment of learning, fun, excitement, and, most importantly, hope.

The 2015 Pack2School event was a huge success! Thank you to all of the volunteers, programs and supporters who helped make this event possible.

To see more photos from this year’s Pack2School event, please visit, and “Like” our Facebook page!

 

2014 Family Volunteer Day

IMG_1898aJust because school is out in the summer time doesn’t mean Otter Kids don’t stay busy giving back to the community! This summer, more than 40 Otters and Otter Kids participated in our Family Volunteer Day! Here at the OtterCares Foundation, we don’t just believe in talking about teaching philanthropy. We put our thoughts and beliefs into action by encouraging employees to bring their kids along to volunteer!

IMG_1850aOur hardworking volunteers planted over 3,000 plant plugs at Springer Natural Area in Fort Collins to help restore an area previously disrupted by construction. Everyone had fun getting their hands dirty and learning about the importance of volunteer work to keeping these natural areas beautiful for generations to come!

By encouraging families to volunteer together, the OtterCares Foundation is helping to inspire the next generation of philanthropists. We encourage those of you with little ones at home to get out and volunteer. Create a habit of giving back that will last a lifetime!

For more photos from Family Volunteer Day, visit our Facebook page!

Pack2School For Back to School

Ah….the excitement of going back to school.  I remember being excited for new beginnings, reconnecting with old friends, making new friends, sporting a few new clothes, and being proud of my new backpack filled with new school supplies.  I remember feeling anxious about fitting in and wondering how the other kids had changed over the summer. It never dawned on me that having new school supplies was a big part of the back to school experience.

Pack2School2014 095Imagine what it would be like if you were a kid and you didn’t get new school supplies because of circumstances beyond your control.  Certainly, it wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen but it would likely impact your school work, your confidence to learn, and how you felt about yourself.  Confidence is an important trait in life, especially in school.  How students think and feel about themselves matters.

Helping kids learn and know they “can” is a guiding belief for us at the OtterCares Foundation.  In 2011, we took on the responsibility for Pack2School, a program founded by the Education and Life Training Center nearly 40 years ago to provide deserving Poudre School District students with new school supplies.

On August 8th, 180 employees of OtterBox and Blue Ocean Enterprises volunteered over 650 hours to help make Pack2School another huge success.  Over 1,800 students were paired with personal shoppers who assisted with the selection of the school supplies needed to help make the coming school year a success.

Students also had the opportunity to partake in fun activities to learn about philanthropy and entrepreneurship (and win cool neon brain-shaped erasers!).  By the end of the day, many of the students were standing a little taller, their eyes a little brighter and voices became more enthusiastic.  I know there were a bunch of kids that had a blast and left feeling good about themselves.

There are times when a simple thank you doesn’t seem enough and this is one of those times.  But, to all of the OtterBox and Blue Ocean employees:Pack2School2014 059

You made a difference in kids’ lives and it is appreciated very much.  THANK YOU!

A note from one of the kiddos:  “Thank you for All of the wonderfull school supplies, and fun. Whithought the contrabutions of your company I whould not have the correct supplys for school, And I whould have just Been sitting At Home Being Bord for the hole day.  I Loved how we got to chose what color of note Books And other supplys that we got.  I just hope that next year I can know that I am love so much that I will be Able to connect with the staff as much as I connected this year.”