The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Let’s Talk About Backpacks

On June 16th, 2014, posted in: Uncategorized by

Let's Talk About BackpacksLet’s take some time to talk about backpacks – literally and figuratively. When I went to elementary school, I had a pencil box and gym bag. Seriously, that was it. Today, kids have a backpack. When I went to junior high school (today it’s middle school), I carried everything in my arms. The pencils moved their way from a box to my shirt pocket inside of a pocket protector. Now you know why I got beat up a lot at school.

Before the coolness of backpacks, I was the nerd. Today, fashion-minded people and stylists work tirelessly to create the perfect nerd look for the iconic players of the NBA and the rap stars of our time and backpacks are part of the attire. It is ironic and absolutely hilarious that the fashionistas are painstakingly searching for the look I had for my entire stay in middle school, minus the backpack. It could be argued that my nerdiness of the past migrated its way into the trendsetting of today.

Today, every kid has a backpack. If you investigated what was contained within these canvas carryalls, you would find half of the household, including a water bottle hooked to the outside to ensure proper hydration. Smart move, given that some of today’s kids could be dehydrated from carrying the backpack. OMG. Based on the loads I see most kids carrying, the chiropractic community must be thrilled. I predict that future generations will have more back problems than any other generation before them. Certainly more than my generation. Sure, I got beat up a lot, but I have not a single problem with my back.

On a much more serious note, St. Louis Community Credit Union just committed funding to the St. Louis Public Schools for the purpose of filling up backpacks for this upcoming school year. We are proud to join the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis as a primary sponsor in this effort. Anything we can do to promote a sound education is on our list of things to do and is embedded in our mission “to increase people’s standard of living and better their lifestyle.” Witness that household wealth and advanced education are two of the bedrock reasons for people to experience economic mobility, i.e. moving up the socio-economic ladder of prosperity.

Even more serious is the metaphor using a backpack to describe the readiness of kids entering school. The subsequent costs of public education for a middle-class child entering the school system versus a child stricken by poverty is the equivalent of the great divide. Suffice to say, the backpack is empty for the child of little means versus being chocked full for the middle-class child.

This metaphor was used by a public school superintendent who is gaining great stature in the community as one of our finest leaders. She is extremely adept in describing the plight of so many. I will not do her justice in my description, but her position on the matter is without question.

She stated that the backpack is symbolic of pre-kindergarten preparation. Those children in poverty enter the school system already behind. They have nutritional problems that have adversely affected their ability to learn. They may be sleep-deprived. And they are certainly behind on their ability to read and discern. Their vocabulary skills, deductive reasoning and their general knowledge of what should have been taught in those young, impressionable years is woefully behind. The likelihood of no books in the house is at a high percentage. .

The credit union is about filling up backpacks literally. We must strike out against poverty by providing tools for a great education. It is money well spent.

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