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The Pencil Box Project kicks off Barnaby Manor Elementary's school year


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Photo courtesy of Melvin M. Contee. Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III holds a box of donated school supplies along with Barnaby Manor Elementary School staff Monday. The supplies were donated by the Department of Corrections and were funded through donations from several organizations and small businesses.

Photo courtesy of Melvin M. Contee. Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III holds a box of donated school supplies along with Barnaby Manor Elementary School staff Monday. The supplies were donated by the Department of Corrections and were funded through donations from several organizations and small businesses.

Published on: Wednesday, August 21, 2013

By Tracey Gold Bennett

Parents with students at Barnaby Manor Elementary School will have a little less to worry about this school year thanks to a gift of school supplies from the Prince George’s County Department of Corrections.

The agency gave more than 400 students pre-packaged supplies on their first day of school Monday. The Pencil Box Project is the Department of Corrections’ way of giving back to the community, said Yolanda Evans, public information officer for the department.

“The Pencil Box Project was started 18 years ago and has been providing school supplies to children in the county since then. All of the county agencies raise money to support the project. The state’s attorney’s office gave a substantial donation along with private businesses and community support groups,” Evans said.

Barnaby Manor Elementary is part of County Executive Rushern Baker’s Transforming Neighborhood Initiative areas. The initiative aims to provide support to six economically disenfranchised areas in the county faced with challenges in the areas of health, education and public safety. Those neighborhoods include Glassmanor/Oxon Hill, Hillcrest Heights/Marlow Heights, Suitland/Coral Hills, Kentland/Palmer Park, Langley Park and East Riverdale/Bladensburg.

“I am so proud and appreciative of our Department of Corrections for their work on the Pencil Box Project,” Baker said. “For our kids to succeed, they must be prepared. The students of Barnaby Manor Elementary School will be greatly assisted by the kindness of our correctional officers and the support they have garnered from our residents and businesses who have donated these school supplies.”

The Pencil Box Project is a collaborative effort with donations from corrections and police unions, county businesses, Oxon Hill volunteer firefighters, the South County Economic Development Association and Prince George’s Community Federal Credit Union.

Evans said the Department of Corrections also participates in other programs to support students.

“The Department of Corrections also mentors elementary school students throughout the school year through the COPES (Correctional Officers Protecting and Educating Students) program. This program emphasizes the importance of education and staying away from drugs, gangs, negative peer pressure and about the negative impact of bullying,” she said.

Barnaby Manor is one of the schools that benefitted from the COPES program last school year.

“As a community we need to support our schools. The county executive’s Transforming Neighborhood Initiative includes a holistic approach to education, public safety, economic development, and job opportunity,” Evans said. “The county is addressing each of these using all the resources the county has in a wrap around approach where each agency is involved in a TNI area.”

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