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An impact one backpack at a time

Project levels playing field in the classroom

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - Kids with backpacks marching off to school will soon be seen all throughout northeastern and central Pennsylvania. For hundreds of kids, those backpacks wouldn't be possible if not for a community partnership. Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller show us how the project impacts more than just the students it aims to help.

It's not a football drill at Lackawanna College's Tobin Hall but the Falcons put their collective muscle to work on Wednesday. They hoisted backpacks, several at a time, from a delivery truck and carried them inside the building. Each backpack was stuffed with school supplies to be handed out to hundreds of children in need. In their own way, the backpacks help even the playing field. Lackawanna College Falcons Nose Tackle Anthony Brinson said, "When you're going to school you always want to be prepared, be able to learn like everybody else is learning without being a step behind so  it's good just to help them out." His teammate, Defensive End Victor Mitchell added, "And it's good for kids to know that people in college are still looking out for them."

Lackawanna College started this project in 2010 called ROCKET which stands for Registrar's Office Connecting Kids With Educational Tools. Back then, it gave away 50 backpacks but with the help of Parker Hill Church in recent years, the number has grown to 1,500. Program creator and Lackawanna College Registrar Theresa Scopelliti said, "Because of their generosity, we're really able to expand to many different areas, different counties."

Parker Hill purchased all of the backpacks but people who call the church their home purchased all of the supplies that are stuffed inside. Morgan, Casey and Ian Quinn attend Parker Hill Church in Dickson City. By volunteering, they learn a difficult lesson. 14-year-old Morgan Quinn said, "Some people can't afford any, like, things for school, like, they don't have anything." Her father, Sean Quinn, added "In order for the children to appreciate what they have, we get them involved with this so they can understand why they're doing it."

Parker Hill Church Executive Pastor Steve Brown spoke with pride about the Quinns making the effort a family mission. "It's so neat to see a family do it together and to see kids really own that and want to help out other kids in the area, kids that they don't even know." But knowing they're making an impact -- one backpack at a time.

The backpacks will be handed out at various schools in five local counties before the school year begins.
 


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