Omaha nonprofit sponsors Adopt-A-Student program

The program is looking for 90 volunteers to buy a new backpack, clothes, shoes, and school supplies for a child in need
With the back-to-school frenzy now kicking in we're reminded that all parents are not able to provide new clothes and school supplies for their kids.
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 7:44 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ELKHORN, Neb. (WOWT) - The back-to-school frenzy is now kicking in and we’re reminded that not all parents are able to provide new clothes and school supplies for their kids.

Isaac, 12, and Nova Vlasak, 11, are the first to drop off a backpack full of school essentials at Open Door Mission Tuesday.

They’re part of the Adopt-A-Student program where they sponsor a homeless child and get a list of items that the child wants.

“On the list, it said he wanted some poppets so we put some in there. It’s just good to help other people,” said Isaac Vlasak.

“Mostly we shopped online but yeah because you can just find a bunch of stuff,” said Nova Vlasak.

The Adopt-A-Student is looking for 90 volunteers to buy a new backpack, clothes, shoes, and school supplies for a child in need. So far, the mission has filled 60 of those requests.

“We do that so that kids will have things just like everyone else and so they won’t stand out in their class, they’ll feel appreciated and loved. It’s just very important that all the things that we do try to help students not be negatively affected more than they will be because of their parents being homeless,” said Steve Frazee, Open Door Mission.

Steve Frazee says the average of a homeless person in the metro area is nine-year-old. He says a child can fall behind by six to 18 months when the family becomes homeless.

Susan Christensen adopts a student every year. She says this program is important to homeless children.

“Critical, they need all the help and we’re all human beings so we all need the help we can get, and honestly, I get way out of this than he does. Yeah, it was fun to shop for back to school because my daughter’s grown,” said Christensen.

Going back to school can be difficult for kids, especially those that are homeless.

“I think it’s really important, especially in Elkhorn where people are mostly on the more wealthy side so we don’t really homelessness over here and it’s good to know another perspective and not everyone has what you have,” said high school junior, Makenna Dillwok.

These teens are finishing off the summer by volunteering at the Open Door Mission outlet in Elkhorn. They understand how important optics are to kids.

“No matter how much someone may put up a wall and say ‘oh, I don’t care what people think,’ everyone cares a little bit what people think, you know, so I just think and just being able to sponsor a kid is a great thing but yeah, everyone wants to fit in. You know, high school,” said high school junior Kate Heingen.

“When don’t meet up, they don’t feel that they belong and that leads to kids dropping out or not doing as well as they should.”

The hope is that these backpacks and especially their contents will help kids who already have the odds against them get a fair chance to succeed.

And even if the donor and child never meet face to face, there is shared affection.

“Here is a thank you, the kids painted those pictures to say thank you for the backpacks. It’s beautiful.”

The Open Door Mission needs school supplies and clothing all year round.

Copyright 2022 WOWT. All rights reserved.