Sunday, Aug. 16, 2009 | 1:59 a.m.
- For more information about donating to Olive Crest, call 221-6224.
Beyond the Sun
Children this month will receive school supplies from donations to Olive Crest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing child abuse and preserving the family.
The annual back-to-school drive, which began in mid-July, is fueled by organizations and families who donate backpacks, paper, folders, pens and pencils to Olive Crest. Gift cards are also accepted.
In addition, Kendra Deno, development associate at the foster care agency, said the Academy of Hair Design is offering free haircuts to all of the children during August.
Deno said because of the economy, some businesses have not participated in this year's drive. Instead, Deno said, employees of the companies are donating supplies individually.
"We have people bringing in one notebook or one box of crayons at a time, and before you know it, you have a box full," she said, "and everything adds up."
Later, she added that being able to equip these kids with the most basic things they need is important to help them succeed when they've already overcome so many obstacles.
"Because it's one thing the families don't have to worry about getting, one thing the kids don't have to worry about going to school without paper or without having the proper pencils," she said.
Olive Crest is hoping to give about 200 kids school supplies, Deno said. An open house will be held Thursday at the office at 6148 W. Sahara Ave. from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. to distribute the donations. Families of the children and donors are invited to attend.
"It's a chance for the families to see the people who are donating to them, and it's a chance for the donors to actually see where their contribution is going," she said.
While the drive officially ended Friday, she said the organization never turns down donations, including clothing and nonperishable food items.
"By no means do we ever turn down school supplies, either," Deno said. "We have kids coming into the system year round."
Olive Crest in Las Vegas was established in 1997. Nationwide, it was founded in 1973 and has offices in California and Washington. The agency provides several programs aimed at keeping families intact.
Ken Lange, executive director of Olive Crest, said the organization looks to help families who aren't just looking for a hand out -- but a hand up.
"We're the connector," he said.
Lange said Olive Crest serves as the intermediary between families who have access to resources and are willing to help and families who recognize they have problems and are willing to accept assistance.
"That's how it should be," he said. "We should take care of each other."