This August, we’re trying to help more children succeed

As any parent knows, sending a child to school – public or private – has a lot of associated costs. And this year, those costs have reached record levels, with back to school expenditures estimated between $1,000-$1,600 per child.

For the millions of kids in the U.S. walking through the school doors at an automatic economic disadvantage, the financial burden is often just the beginning. Kids in poverty may well be grappling with a host of other challenges like hunger, increased bullying, inadequate sleep and exclusion from extracurricular activities. This burden affects these students’ teachers as well, who are underpaid, yet 94 percent of them dip into their own paychecks for everything from pencils and food to classroom carpeting.  

The MSN Causes team has been talking for several months with Boys & Girls Clubs of America about their work to help these kids. We knew that when back to school season rolled around, we wanted to do something to help empower them, too. We also knew that we wanted to build on the 20 years of partnership that our parent company, Microsoft, has maintained in support of BGCA.

It’s not surprising to learn that a big part of the increased costs of going back to school are associated with technology. Pencils and glue are one thing; computers and a reliable internet connection are now just as indispensable to keeping up in the classroom, and far harder to afford.

Microsoft and Boys & Girls Clubs of America have provided over 95,000 kids access to computer science learning opportunities. Empowering Kids in Need, this month’s giving campaign on MSN, supports these opportunities, as well as BGCA’s other programs to provide kids with supplies, mentors and safe and nurturing places to go after school.

In addition to our national campaign, Boys & Girls Clubs identified four local communities enabling computer science programs where we are offering opportunities to contribute. MSN readers in Houston, TX, Kansas City, MO, Orlando, FL and Venice, CA will see information about the needs of kids in their own communities and may donate directly to their local BGCA Clubs, or sign up to be a volunteer. (You can personalize your MSN homepage to your own city by clicking the edit button next to your weather report in the upper left corner, then refreshing the page.)

The package features more than 20 custom articles and galleries from MSN’s news partners, providing analysis and insights on the issue, stories of people making a difference, and a focus on solutions and resources for those in need.

We hope you find this informative, and that it inspires you to give what you can by donating or volunteering to help make the lives and futures of these kids better. They’re quickly growing into adults in a rapidly changing world, and the more we can help everyone succeed, the better off we’ll all be.

On MSN: Empowering Kids in Need