Story and photo by Lt. Everardo Silva, AA/PIO
Calipatria State Prison

Families from Grace Smith Elementary School in Niland will spend less on notebooks, pencils and other classroom supplies for their children thanks to a Back-to-School Supply Drive held at Calipatria State Prison (CAL).

Frances Stratton, community resource manager analyst at CAL, and Claudia Saldana, community resource manger, flank Lucy Felix, administrative assistant at Grace Smith Elementary School.

Sponsored by CAL staff, the event provided new composition books, markers, boxes of colored pencils and bags filled with grade-appropriate supplies — like glue, scissors, crayons, notebooks and highlighters. Approximately 80 area students profited from the drive.

“This is much appreciated,” said Lucy Felix, administrative assistant for the school. “Families of students will have fewer projects when it comes to back to school shopping this year; this is very helpful for the families.”

Claudia Saldana, the Community Resource Manager for CAL, called the drive an investment in the students’ future. With the help of the staff at CAL, she said, “It’s just going to help students become everything they can be and that is priceless. This is our second school supply drive, but not our last”.

The donations were delivered on Aug. 25, which is the Friday, prior to the start of the school year. Frances Stratton, the community resource manager analyst at CAL, said it was a pleasure helping out local families because although their education is free, their school supplies are not.

“CAL staff understand and appreciate the responsibility to be good neighbors,” Stratton said. “Our staff member are aware that investing in our children’s education is an investment in the future of this community and our country.”