From the time I was in sixth grade until I graduated from college, I attended a Catholic school.  Through high school, we had dress codes so that all kids have a foundation of equality.

Equality. It’s an important thing to learn.

We had rules there that we didn’t have when I was at a public school.  In 6th-8th grade, when the principal came to the classroom door, we were required to stand beside our desks and greet him.  “Good morning, Father (principal).”  When he responded, we were allowed to sit back down and resume our studies.

Respect. It’s an important thing to learn.

I remember a lot about those years because it was so different than what we did at the public school.  We started each day with a prayer and the Pledge.

Faith and allegiance. Important things to learn.

When it came to school supplies, it was very basic.  We always watched for things to go on sale and we stocked up.  Even then, I remember making sure that the spiral notebook and the two-pocket folder for the same subject matched.  Books needed to be covered with appropriate cover materials – the school sold covers that had typical prayers and school sayings on it.  That’s what we used most.  We didn’t really do anything fancy like Trapper-Keepers.

When I was offered the opportunity to participate in a campaign for “Back to School With Purpose“, I immediately responded. It’s a nice feeling being able to help someone. But connecting someone to a company who has an interest in reaching out to the community is a great feeling too.

This particular campaign was created by DaySpring – the faith-based division of Hallmark. The point of the campaign was to go back to school with a purpose.  Providing hope and encouragement as we begin a new school year.Hope and encouragement.  Those are important things to learn.

There’s so much to say about this campaign that I don’t know where to start.  First, I think that it’s a great community outreach project for DaySpring.  The problem that I had was it’s a line of religious products. While I don’t personally have a problem with it (obviously), I wasn’t sure how the schools would be if I decided to drop off school supplies that included religious items.  Last thing I would want is for something of value to be discarded for political reasons.

So I contacted the church and asked if they had a parishioner who could use this gift.  The Director of Religious Education and the Deacon both agreed that they had a family in mind.  The parents were great and would welcome such a thoughtful care package.  The family included two 4th grade boys (twins) and an older daughter who was in (I think) 8th grade.

My daughters and I discussed the purpose of this project and I explained that not everyone can afford the things they need… let alone the things they want.  We were purchasing these items for a family would was less fortunate than us.  I suggested that they bring along their purses in case they wanted to contribute something on their own.  I figured a box of crayons or a bottle of glue would only be a quarter or less so it would instill the idea with minimal impact on them financially.  I was provided compensation for these supplies, so having a 7 year old and 5 year old dig into their own purses for someone else seemed like asking a lot.

We set out to Walmart for this shopping experience on Sunday, the day after the tax-free holiday ended.  Products were pretty scarce in general but finding the DaySpring products posed an even bigger challenge.  I expected a nice end cap but couldn’t find anything labeled DaySpring.  Finally, after like 10 minutes of circling the school supply section, I asked an employee.

She walked us directly to the products and also pointed out that there were more scattered about in other sections.  I personally thought the entire DaySpring line (of matching products) would all be displayed together.  I think the only things that were actually elsewhere ended up being the pencil cases.  They matched the rest of the line of folders, binders, composition notebooks and spiral notebooks but they were in with the rest of the pencil cases.

The girls and I picked one of each of the different DaySpring themes and put them in the basket. We proceeded to hunt about until we found a boy as close to 4th grade as we could. Figured we wouldn’t want to purchase something too uncool for a boy that age!

When a young man finally helped us, he picked out a few different that looked masculine. The funny thing about the line is that they look very contemporary and don’t scream “I’m religious!” at all.

I think they look great and although the pickings for boys was pretty limited, there were a ton that were just beautiful.  Very feminine though.

We had already completed most of our back-to-school shopping prior to this campaign beginning but I encouraged the girls to pick out something from the DaySpring line.  They don’t need many folders or notebooks at their age, but for a child who is older, the DaySpring line provides a lot of variety!

The school the twins would attend didn’t have a list available at my Walmart so we utilized a list for a different school figuring most 4th grade classes would be similar.  After a few hours scouring the store for the products, choosing backpacks, asking boys their opinions, picking DaySpring products and getting a special surprise for the twins, we finally were ready to check out.  When all was said and done, we had purchased backpacks for two boys and had a balance still available to put on a gift card for the family to fill in the blanks of what we didn’t purchase – or for their older sister who would probably love some of the DaySpring products!

We had an awesome experience and I was so proud of my daughters for a heartfelt and unselfish contribution they made to the backpack.

To find out what else DaySpring is involved with, stop by their forums, follow DaySpringCards on Twitter or “like” DaySpring on Facebook. To follow along with the Back to School with Purpose campaign, visit the official website (launches 8/12).  Contact your local Walmart to see if they’re carrying DaySpring products.  If not, use the DaySpring “find a store” page on the website. (As of this writing, Walmart in our area is NOT showing up on the list but since I purchased product there, I can tell you that it SHOULD be!)

If you’re a blogger, you can help spread the Back to School #WithPurpose word.  DaySpring has partnered with Adopt-A-Classroom to bring supplies to classrooms that might not otherwise be able to afford it.  Check out their site for more information on how to join!

Oh, and if you’re really inspired by their mission and products, you can become a home party consultant through their Blessings Unlimited company.

3 thoughts on “Purpose – An Important Thing to Learn

  1. our church, First Baptist Church, Topeka, Ks, sponsored a Backpack Bash for elementary school children in our community. church members donated supplies/money; the day of the distribution free food/entertainment/door prizes were also provided in the parking lot of the church. church members also volunteered to help with registration/lunch/entertainment. 310 children were registered, with the

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