Success Stories


Shayla's Backpack


Shayla and Amie

As soon as Shayla walked in with her stuffed Clifford and mother, it was pretty clear what color backpack she would pick.

As a kindergartener, Shayla was entering the “big school” for the first time. Martin Grade School is part of Bennett County School District in southern South Dakota. Part of the state school system, Martin Grade and its sisters, Junior and High School, held a special “Back to School” evening for students and parents that included welcomes, hugs, building and classroom tours, movies, food and AIEF’s backpacks and school supplies!

In addition to a colorful pastel tutu, Shayla was dressed in a new pink t-shirt with animated fruit characters. Before coming to the school she asked her mother if she could bring her toy, Clifford, to the event with her. Of course, he was tucked securely under her arm.

After arriving at the school, Shayla went to the table and gave Principal Amie her name, who efficiently checked Shayla off of the list. Shayla then moved to the boxes full of differently colored backpacks.

Shayla and Karen

Shayla was so excited about all the colors, but she pointed to the green backpack first. A surprising choice given the other colors, but her attention was quickly drawn to another box. When School Advisor, Karen, opened an additional box, Shayla saw a pretty pink backpack. She knew immediately that was the one!

Being able to pick just the right backpack for her first day at school the following Monday made Shayla very happy.

A “zoo animal” theme decorated the entire school to welcome the different grades back to school. We convinced Shayla to stand in front of the jungle-themed wall decoration for pictures.
Very carefully, Shayla placed Clifford at her feet and gave us a wide toothless grin!

Starting a new school year can be a little stressful for kids, parents, and teachers. However, this was a fabulous start to a hopefully successful new academic year!

]]