There’s no denying that Back-to-School time is here; simply take a look at Facebook and many of your friends’ posts will be photos of the little ones (and big ones) heading off for the first day of school. Back-to-school is riddled with excitement even though most students will lead you to believe that it’s a day filled with dread. Seeing friends, meeting your teacher, learning new things, yes, heading back-to-school isn’t as bad as it seems.
Except, sometimes, back-to-school creates stress and hardships. Let’s face it, preparing to get back to class isn’t cheap when you consider school supplies, new clothes, shoes, backpacks, lunchboxes and more. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), average back-to-school spending per household is set to reach $674 this year, a considerable increase over the $527 of 10 years ago. This chart will show you the breakdown of the spending. Imagine the tightrope many are walking as they try to balance the excitement of their children with the worry about how they are going to afford getting them ready for school.
The Courville Communities’ Culture Club, our employee-led team focused on creating and maintaining a workplace culture that provides a safe, fun and healthy environment for our employees, had a recent discussion about this issue and decided to do something about it. We wanted to help ease the burden for our hard-working employees while allowing our team to give back. Thus, the Back-to-School Swap was born.
The Back-to-School Swap (think ski swap) was designed with consignment shop rules in mind. Bring in your gently used clothing, shoes, backpacks, lunchboxes and other items and allow your co-workers to do their back-to-school “shopping” at work. No money would exchange hands. The event was a win-win for all; whether you were on the giving end and able to find a perfect home for all of the items your family no longer used, or on the receiving end and able to do some back-to-school shopping, worry free.
Here’s the really cool thing that happened — most employees participated in some way, as did many family members. And it wasn’t only gently used items. Some staff members without childrens’ hand-me-downs to pass on went out shopping for school supplies and other items. The Courville Communities provided new school supplies at each center including pencils, notebooks, folders, crayons and more. And when the event was over, there were items left that we donated to Families in Transition and Trinity Baptist Church. Maybe we should say this was a win-win-win event!
We want our employees to know we appreciate them and value the daily contributions they make to the lives of our residents. Whether through events like our Back-to-School Swap, our planned Holiday Consignment Store, flexible work schedules, competitive wages, or the often overlooked “thank you for what you do,” we are working hard on the other end to provide our employees with a work environment in which they can thrive.
So to all the students out there heading back to school, we wish you a happy, healthy, safe and fun school year. Only 112(ish) days until your winter break!