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September 26, 2016

Schools partner with InvestED to help students

Owning a yearbook from her eighth-grade year was very important for a recent Horse Heaven Hills Middle School student.

That year was rough; she lived in three separate foster homes between when classes started in the fall and ended in June. But she attended Horse Heaven Hills throughout and the school became her family. She wanted a yearbook as one wants a family album but didn’t have the $25 to pay for it.

But thanks to money provided to her school from nonprofit InvestED, she was able to leave for the summer with a yearbook in hand.

“School was the most stable home she had. We wanted to help her keep those memories,” said Horse Heaven Hills Principal Diana Burns.

Clothes for physical education class, an alarm clock to ensure a student gets up in time for class, even student eyeglasses typically can’t be paid for by state or federal dollars that go to schools.

That’s where the funding provided by InvestED steps in. The nonprofit empowers schools to help students obtain the small things they need to get the most out of their education. The district recently launched a campaign to raise InvestED dollars specifically for Kennewick schools.

“A kid may not necessarily drop out because of these things but it can help them stay involved in school,” said Nicole Bailey, a counselor at Kamiakin High School.

All of Kennewick’s middle and high schools receive money from InvestED, which serves more than 650 schools and more than 23,000 students across the state. The nonprofit helped 285 students in Kennewick schools in the 2015-16 school year.

InvestED’s mission is to provide immediate help to students needing items that will allow them to stay in school and become involved in their learning community. Administrators and designated staff are trained to identify students in need and use InvestED dollars to pay for items or services without a lot of red tape.

Those funds have gone toward helping students buy equipment to participate in school athletics, purchase band instruments or even pay for summer school so a student isn’t held back.

At Kamiakin High, InvestED dollars paid for health insurance for a student, allowing him to play on the school’s football team. A girl who recently emigrated from Mexico didn’t have all her required immunizations, so the funds paid for her to receive them so she could attend classes.

And there was a student removed from his home by state Child Protection Services with only the clothes on his back. Staff used some of Kamiakin High’s InvestED money to make sure he had more than that one outfit to wear to school.

“He didn’t need expensive clothes, he just needed to feel like he fit in,” Bailey said.

Donors may specify which school will receive their minimum donation of $50 and donations will be matched up to $500 by InvestED. Visit bit.ly/KSDInvestED to make a donation now and thank you for supporting our students.