PVEN’s Back to School Extravaganza (BTSE)
Registration for BTSE takes place in June & July
Please call the office at (570) 992-3136 to register
Pleasant Valley Ecumenical Network’s (PVEN) Back to School Extravaganza (BTSE) is a program that assists low-income families with back-to-school supplies for their children. Children receive a new backpack, school supplies such as pens, pencils, notebooks, binders and calculators (grade appropriate), new underwear and socks, personal care items such as deodorant, body wash, shampoo and conditioner, and healthy age appropriate snacks. While these items are important for the start of the new year, our most important contribution to these children is their new uniforms, shoes, socks, and underwear. Few things have as long lasting effect on a child’s school success as their own sense of self-esteem. And while we may think that old sayings like “Clothes make the person” are outdated – in school, nothing can be further from the truth. Children can be particularly cruel when they see a boy with pants that are too short. Or a skirt that has stains. Or that a classmate’s hand-me-down shoes are falling apart. That crushing blow to their self-esteem can and does haunt them in all their classes, and manifests itself in other parts of their life too.
So while PVEN’s BTSE does include a backpack of pens and paper for each child, its primary focus is on providing each child with new shoes, socks, underwear, school approved clothing and uniforms, and toiletries like shampoo and deodorant. Starting off the school year with new clothing, can help a low-income child feel like a normal kid. An impoverished child receiving items from BTSE cannot be distinguished from any other child returning to school on the first day. This allows these children self-confidence and a higher quality of life going into the first day of school. They become indistinguishable from their higher income peers. The BTSE program also assists families to save a few dollars so they can purchase other first day needs or maybe even sign up their child for an after-school activity that they may not have been able to afford.