August 24th was the first day of school for Clark County students.
Many student around the valley were excited to start off the new year with learning supplies and new clothes they got during back to school shopping.
Unfortunately children attending schools in high poverty areas such as Whitney Elementary often go without supplies needed to succeed in the classroom. Principal Sherrie Gahn has dedicated much of her time towards helping each child receive proper supplies and nutrition. She has strategically partnered with local businesses who donate to Whitney Elementary each year.
This year students received surprise backpacks filled with school supplies and snacks donated by the owners of Lotus of Siam. When Bill and Saipin Chutima heard about Whitney Elementary through their daughters Supunika, and Penny, they wanted to do something to help. They ordered 300 backpacks online, and with the help of the Lotus of Siam restaurant staff, they filled the backpacks with school supplies. The Chutima’s invited their friends at Las Vegas News to spend the day hand delivering these backpacks and snacks to each new kindergarten and first-grade student. The emotion in seeing the smiles on the faces of these young students is beyond rewarding. The backpacks mean more than just school materials to these students, it’s hope and encouragement.
The school is located in one of the most underprivileged areas of Las Vegas. Many of the students are deprived of basic necessities or are homeless, School is a safe haven where they receive food, clothing, and care that their families are not able to afford.
There are special programs onsite such as the school supply shop, where students receive free haircuts, dental care, glasses, and special assistance for families who need it. There is also an onsite non-profit center called Village of Hope that was founded by Principal Gahn, It’s powered by volunteers and members of the community. Whitney Elementary has 600 students who receive assistance through partnerships with nonprofits, including the local charity Caring For Kids, who helps deliver food to Whitney students. You as an individual can also help empower the life of one of these children by donating food, or school supplies. No matter how big or small, Every donation is an investment in the leaders of tomorrow.