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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Help South Side Kids Get Ready For School With Bookbag, Supply Drive At South Shore Barbershop

A $10 donation sponsors a student's bookbag. Organizers plan on giving away 150 bags.

Children pose for a photo with a Black is Gold volunteer during the organization's 2019 "community day" at Bryant Elementary in Harvey, Illinois.
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SOUTH SHORE — Nonprofit Black is Gold is in the midst of its annual fundraising and back-to-school supply drive for South Side students, which will culminate with a giveaway and community day in early August.

Bookbags including spiral notebooks, folders, writing utensils, masks and hand sanitizer will be distributed Aug. 2 at the Urban Legends Hair Studio, 1419 E. 79th St.

Supplies will be given away on a first come, first served basis until they run out.

More than 600 students have received bookbags since the community days started in 2018. Organizers expect to give out about 150 this year, according to co-founder Amber Anderson. That number could grow if donations are higher than expected.

You can donate through Paypal or to the organization’s CashApp account, $Blackisgold17. A $10 donation sponsors a student’s bookbag.

Past giveaways at Marcus Garvey Elementary in Washington Heights and Bryant Elementary in Harvey included games, activities and local vendors. The coronavirus pandemic requires a smaller event this year, Anderson said, though food and a DJ will still be on-site.

“We’re adjusting everything for social distancing,” Anderson said.

The Hampton University student started Black is Gold as a high school sophomore in 2017, naming the organization after a Wale song about Black woman empowerment.

Six volunteers and three interns form the core of the organization, which features five chapters at schools including Hampton, Clark-Atlanta University and Emory University.

Beyond the community days, Black is Gold holds a Girl Boss 101 Saturday Program, where high schoolers learn about college and career readiness and character development.

Attendees learn skills like how to create a LinkedIn profile and prepare for interviews. They also learn about healthy living and fitness, sex education and mental health, Anderson said. The latter is “a huge issue in the Black community that isn’t talked about enough, especially among young Black women.”

While education is crucial, it’s also important to impact students beyond the classroom and instill them with life skills, Anderson said. The Ashburn native’s work is inspired by her parents, who are educators and spent most of their careers on the South Side.

“It’s important that people in the community, people from the city of Chicago … be a helping hand for people who need us, especially during times like these,” Anderson said.

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