Our outreach throughout Arizona hits every corner of the state because we know how crucial our work is to low-income families who need information on school choice programs for their children. Year after year, our goal is to meet thousands of parents from disadvantaged inner-city neighborhoods as well as those living in the often forgotten rural communities.
This past summer alone we covered 2,000 miles, starting in Tucson with over 2,500 people lined up at the Reid Park Zoo eager to get information on Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account Program. A thousand happy children left carrying new backpacks full of school supplies, ready for a new school year. Parents, some who had been waiting since before dawn just to make sure their children received a new backpack, left with smiles of hope and gratitude.
Heading west, next stop was the border town of Yuma in southwestern Arizona. Families came to the local swimming pool to enjoy the cool water and to get ready for back to school. Brand-new backpacks were a big hit with all of the children and parents in this low-income community. Financial resources don’t allow the pool to remain open throughout the summer, so hundreds of kids were only able to swim that day because of our back-to-school event. As you can imagine, there were lots of smiles and there was lots of splashing!
Our team traveled north, to Kingman, where we were happy to again be able to open the local pool up to the community. Parents came early so that their children would be among the first to pick out a brand new backpack and so that they could get information on Arizona’s ESA program. A summer storm held off just long enough to give every child a backpack and for our team to be able to speak with every parent!
Heading east we made our last trip of the summer, to Lupton, a tiny town on the Navajo Reservation near Window Rock. Parents and Grandparents came to the Tse Si Ani Chapter House eager to see if they could apply for an Empowerment Scholarship Account for their children. Navajo Code Talker, Roy Hawthorne joined us, to discuss the school his family founded in the community. Inspiring!
This summer, we gave backpacks to thousands of children all across the state and we met thousands of parents who were all eager to tell us their stories. Parents like Amy Ceylana. Mother of 3, desperate to get her children out of the neighborhood public school and into a private school where they will be challenged and encouraged to succeed. Parents like Lanae Enriquez, who watched her older son struggle in public school, falling further and further behind. Lanae is hoping to be able to make a different educational choice for her younger child, who is about to start Kindergarten. We also met families who made decisions to move to our great state because they heard that in Arizona, “parents know best” when it comes to education.