By Staff Sgt. J. Aaron Breeden
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Volunteers from the R.P. Lee Youth Center here started their back-to-school supply drive Aug. 8.
With hand-made donation boxes stationed at the Base Exchange and Commissary, this effort will continue over the next few weeks in order to help prepare on-base families for the upcoming school year.
“We decorate the boxes, take them over to the BX, set them up as a display and then we depend on the community to donate what we need,” said LaTanya McCray, youth center teen advisor.
The BX and Commissary are the primary targets as they generate most of the traffic on base, McCray added.
McCray said that after the school supply drive ends, the donations will be distributed to school-age children, grades K-12, at an event called Lights on After Dark, which will be held at the youth center.
Emily Wanderscheid, Keystone Club vice president, began volunteering at the youth center when she was 13 and has been actively involved in events like the back-to-school drive for the past two years.
“It makes me feel happy that we can provide our community members with school supplies that they need,” said Wanderscheid. “I met one family and the smiles on their faces when they got their supplies made me happy.”
Reactions like these are what keep Wanderscheid motivated to continue giving back to her military family.
“I live outside of base but I love giving back to (the base community) because this feels like my second home,” said Wanderscheid.
Although the youth center never sets a goal for the total number of contributions, McCray said that their main objective is to improve every year and hope to double last year’s donations.
“We collected at least 1,000 items last year,” McCray said.
The items donated last year helped provide more than 250 families with much needed supplies, McCray added.
“Peterson Air Force Base’s youth center is just that, Peterson Air Force Base’s youth center,” said McCray. “Our main focus is the community here on Peterson.”
For more information about the base youth center or how to contribute to this year’s school supply drive, call the R.P. Lee Youth Center at 556-7220.