New backpack. Check.

Crayons. Check.

Pencils. Check. 

Family face masks. Check.

Some back-to-school lists look a little different this year. In fact, many things look different as we enter the 2020-21 school year at any of our three United Inner City Services (UICS) centers. While UICS students are greeted with the same warm and welcoming smiles from staff and teachers, those smiles are now partially covered by colorful masks. 

To keep our students safe, first and foremost, and balance concerns of anxious parents and staff, UICS is strictly adhering to guidelines from local health departments, the CDC, and the American Pediatric Association. All UICS employees are required to wear masks at work as a new safety protocol (in addition to temperature checks, increased sanitation procedures, and building access for staff and students only). 

Thanks to the generosity of community partners, UICS has received incredible mask donations to keep everyone safe at all of our schools. A local apparel company, best known for their Kansas City pride and vintage heart design, responded to our need for masks. 

Charlie Hustle graciously donated reusable fabric masks with their signature KC heart design as an in-kind gift to ensure safety (and style!) for all UICS employees. With masks in high demand and retailing anywhere from $8 – 15 apiece, Charlie Hustle has made it possible for UICS to supply protection and reserve budget during a challenging time.

 

With every stitch, Charlie Hustle has worked to make our community, including Kansas City’s youngest citizens, stronger and safer during the pandemic. UICS is humbled to be a recipient of their local philanthropy efforts. 

UICS Board members also recognized the necessity for masks and sprang into action. “After the centers first closed, I was helping to prepare and distribute art projects and food bags for families to pick up curbside. I was talking with Deidre (UICS Chief Executive Officer) about how many masks would be needed for staff and parents driving by to pick up art and meal kits,” said Board member Rebecca James.  “We wanted everyone to be safe and also model good behavior for parents and children.” 

Rebecca then connected with a friend and requested masks for UICS. She explains, “I saw a random email from my friend, Deann Mitchell, who was making masks and I reached out. I bought the materials for the masks, and she made them for UICS at no cost. When the centers started opening back up, we got more made for the returning staff.” 

Rebecca also expressed how much she and her partner, Richard, have missed interacting with UICS’ little learners for volunteer service during the pandemic and how she is happy to do her part to support UICS and the safety of the community. 

Despite the new challenges the pandemic has created, the kindness and dedication from our supporters has never wavered. In fact, it has increased unity and compelled advocacy; these are only two of the stories of generosity during this pandemic. We are filled with gratitude for the collective commitment in keeping our shared community safe. Together, we are better.

If you are interested in supporting UICS and joining our circle of giving with an in-kind donation or individual contribution, please contact UICS Individual Giving Manager, Mariah Roady, at mariah.roady@uicskc.org or 816.994.5432.