Rainbow Pack

By: Rainbow Pack

Poverty , Activist

*If you click the play button on the banner above, you will hear first hand from a teacher at one of the schools we are giving to this year, Telfair Elementary, about the struggle her students face. Also, the struggles she faces as a teacher trying to teach students who don't have basic supplies. This is only one teacher, but her struggles and the struggles of her students are not unique. They are the same as other students and teachers at all the schools we give to.*

2 in 5 students, in the United States, will start the first day of school without the supplies they need to succeed. These supplies are basic. They are things such as pencils, erasers, backpacks, crayons, and the list goes on. Although often times students have some supplies in their classroom, what they lack are these supplies at home. Now this is very important because without supplies at home, these kids are unable to complete their homework. because of this many students fall behind and lose interest in school. 

Now if you are a student reading this you might be thinking “Sick! They can’t do their homework and they have a real excuse so they just get to not do homework!” But I would like you to imagine this: Imagine that you are in school on the first day, in your favorite subject. You are listening intently to the teacher and you are really getting this concept. You really can’t wait to show your new teacher everything know about this concept and start the school year off right. So when she assigns the homework you are actually kind of excited to do it. When you get home you, you get out your work, ready to begin, but you stop. You stop because you realize you don’t have a pencil to fill in the answers to the questions. You are so frustrated because you know the answers, you just can’t write them down. You go in the next day and the day after that and every day after not turning in your homework because you don’t have anything to complete it with, or carry it back and forth to school in. This is the reality for those 2 in 5 students on their first day, and every day after that.

This issue is especially prevalent in impoverish communities, where when back to school time rolls around the parents are faced with the decision to buy their kids the supplies they so desperately need and put food on the table. 

Rainbow Pack is a youth-run non-profit charity that is dedicated to providing elementary school students with the supplies they need to be successful learners, regardless of their economic circumstance. Rainbow Pack exists to inspire and implement a solution to the educational crisis. Rainbow Pack was started 6 years ago by a 10-year-old girl named Riley (that’s me). This all started when I was in 5th grade and I went on a service learning trip to a school in an impoverished community in Los Angeles, just a couple miles from my very expensive private school. I was working with some of the students and one of the little girls mentioned while coloring that she wanted a box of the “skinny crayons” but her mom said she couldn’t afford them. From that moment on I was on a mission to make sure that little girl got the crayons she wanted. And from that first little girl Rainbow Pack has given out over 9,520 backpacks full of supplies to over 7 schools. 

The general public can help support this project the following ways:

PRIORITY #1: Money

Our goal for this year is to raise enough money to get 5,000 backpacks. This translates to raising about 30,000 (this is because we have already raised some money).


PRIORITY #2: Start Your Own Fundraiser

Another great way to support Rainbow Pack is to start your own fundraising page for us, it is super easy and very customizable.


Team Members

  • Riley Gantt

    15, Founder/ CEO

    When Riley isn't working to bring equal education to all the elementary school kids in Los Angeles as the Founder/CEO of Rainbow Pack she is a high school student. She loves to belt out tunes and play guitar as she does her homework. Her dog Ella and cat Finnegan make a fabulous audience for these impromptu performances. When she's not rabble-rousing or writing you can find Riley behind her camera. Follow her on Twitter @rainbowpackorg.

Impact

Future Impact

March 4, 2016

This year Rainbow Pack's goal is to provide backpacks full of grade appropriate schools supplies (Rainbow Packs) to 5 schools. This means that we want to provide 5,000 Rainbow Packs. Which means that we have to raise a total of $50,000. 

We have already raised some money, but we still need a lot. You can watch our progress and donate at https://www.classy.org/events/rainbow-pack-2016/e72750

Rainbow Pack's Impact Survey

One thing that is very important to us here at Rainbow Pack is making sure that what we give is really helping the students. What we don't want to do is be one of those tragic cases in the charity world where we think we are making a huge difference, but we actually are not. To make sure this doesn't happen we sent a survey to ALL of the schools we have given to in the past to get their feedback and input on things. We asked them whether the supplies we give are useful if they would add anything or take away anything. To this, nearly 100% of the Principles and teachers surveys  said that all the supplies were given were useful and needed and that no supplies needed to be added or taken away. 

Another section of the survey asked the teachers and Principals to say if the statement "I have students who would not have been able to complete their homework if they had not received a Rainbow Pack." was a true or false statement. 86% said that this statement was true. 

We then asked if there had been an increase in things like self-esteem and class preparedness in the students after receiving Rainbow Packs. 93% of Principals and teachers surveyed report that after receiving Rainbow Packs their students show improved self-esteem. 95% of Principals and teachers surveyed report that in class preparedness increased after their students received a Rainbow Pack. 

All of these results show that the impact of Rainbow Pack is more than just a backpack. 

Rainbow Pack Year 5: The 2015/2016 School Year

On August 5th and 6th of 2015, Rainbow Pack held 'back to school' events at 4 elementary schools! Haddon Ave., Rosa Parks, Langdon and Roscoe Elementary. We were able to give every student at all four schools (including the special education and PreK programs) Rainbow Packs. 

To date, Rainbow Pack has given out over 9,500 Rainbow Packs to elementary school kids in need.

Rainbow Pack Year 4: The 2014/2015 School Year

Our third year, we doubled our goal again by committing to help two entire schools. Once again, we met our goal and delivered Rainbow Packs to every student at Haddon Ave. and Strathern Street elementary schools, over 2,000 Rainbow Packs. 

We also make sure that each school has Rainbow Packs on hand for new students who enroll mid-year. In talking with the social worker at the schools, we have heard that this simple gesture goes a long way in easing a student into their new school. 

2013 - This year we were also able to give Rainbow Packs to Five Acres - The Boys' and Girls' Aid Society of Los Angeles County and to MICOP - Mixteco/Indigena Community Organization Project. Aiding and empowering Indigenous Oaxacan immigrants in Ventura County.

On Friday, August 8, 2014, Councilmember Felipe Fuentes (CD7) recognized the impact of my efforts for kids in his district.

 Rainbow Pack Year 3: The 2013/2014 School Year

Our first year we started with what seemed like a huge goal. That goal was to get a new backpack, fill it with school supplies and give one to every kindergarten student starting the 2011/2012 school year at Haddon Avenue Elementary School. This would be a total of 180 students.

The second year we set an even bigger goal. We wanted to give a new backpack to EVERY student at Haddon, K-5, That’s 1,000 backpacks full of the supplies so that every student could have the necessary supplies they need to do their homework.

Guess what? We did it!!!

One the first day of the 2012/2013 school year, every student at Haddon Ave. Elementary school received a new backpack full supplies. Every student Kindergarten – Fifth grade and the Special Ed program.

Rainbow Pack Year 2: The 2012/2013 School Year

The second year we set an even bigger goal. We wanted to give a new backpack to EVERY student at Haddon, K-5, That’s 1,000 backpacks full of the supplies so that every student could have the necessary supplies they need to do their homework.

Guess what? We did it!!!

One the first day of the 2012/2013 school year, every student at Haddon Ave. Elementary school received a new backpack full supplies. Every student Kindergarten – Fifth grade and the Special Ed program.

Rainbow Pack Year 1: The 2011/2012 School Year

Our first year we started with what seemed like a huge goal. That goal was to get a new backpack, fill it with school supplies and give one to every kindergarten student starting the 2011/2012 school year at Haddon Avenue Elementary School. This would be a total of 180 students.

With the help of amazingly generous friends and family we not only accomplished our goal, we more than doubled it. We filled 360 backpacks with crayons, pencils, erasers, glue sticks, scissors, colored pencils, folders, and more.

On their first day of school at Haddon, not only did every kindergarten student have a new backpack full of supplies, so did every first-grade student. We were also able to give every teacher classroom and art supplies.


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