Backpack Challenge 2020

The Backpack Challenge is an annual community effort led by Valley Youth House in partnership with the Department of Human Services.  This campaign collects school supplies and backpacks for youth in foster care. In addition, the campaign ensures that every young person who is a member of the Achieving Independence Center and enrolled in college receives as much support as possible to eliminate barriers to academic success.

Heading back to high school or starting college should be an exciting time. However, for youth who are homeless or living in foster care, it can be an extremely stressful time. This campaign offers the opportunity for Philadelphia area businesses and residents to support our young people using various platforms.

Last year, the Department of Human Service identified 2,196 young people between the ages of 11-17 who were in dependent care.  Unfortunately, this year, the anticipated numbers may increase. This makes our effort that much more significant and timely.

COVID-19 has required us to change our Backpack Challenge approach significantly.  This year we are not able to host collection sites from area businesses.  In addition, we are not collecting and assembling items as we previous did.  Our efforts this year will be focused on collecting funds to purchase laptop computers for all of college freshman.  In addition, funds collected will allow us to support young people with additional fees and other things to help close the financial gaps for our college students. Our goal is to raise $30,000 in support of our young people.  There are several levels of giving.  Here’s how you can offer support with this effort.

GIVE: Corporate or individual sponsorships:

  • $100 –  Assists in  purchasing basic school supplies for students
  • $250 – Provides a college freshman with a new laptop to start college.
  • $500 – Assists a young person to purchase dorm room essentials
  • $1000 – Provides books and supplies for a college student for one year
  • $2000 – Help a community college attend college for one semester
  • $5000 – Helps a university student attend college for one year.