Home > News > Grauer Back-to-School Project Helps Children Start School With Confidence

Grauer Back-to-School Project Helps Children Start School With Confidence

In August this year, the 21st annual Grauer Back-to-School Project helped 253 children get ready for the first day of school. Many of the children in Neighborhood House’s Connect Program benefit from the Project. We talked with Nancy Grauer Scheele about what the event means for local children and for her family. Here’s what she had to say:

“The Grauer Back-to-School Project was started in memory of my parents, long time St. Luke Lutheran Church members, Grace and Marion Grauer.  My parents volunteered in many, many organizations over the years, but the projects that supported children always held a special place for them.

This year, we gave all new items to 253 children grades K-12 who live in the Ida B. Wells School cluster.  Each child was able to pick out a winter coat, underwear, socks, T-shirt, shoes, and backpack with school supplies. We’re grateful to St. Luke for hosting this event throughout its history. It not only takes a village, but also over 100 volunteers to make this day a success.

We do this every year so these children can be ready for the first day of school and feel good about themselves. It has been a joy to see the wonderful smiles of the children and parents as they shop in each area. 

This year one of our favorite memories was, even though it was a very hot day, a 3rd grader was wearing his coat zipped up and hood on.  When his dad told him to take it off, the boy said, “Can’t I just wear it?  It’s the first new coat I’ve ever had.”  Things like this touch all of our hearts.

So many times a volunteer project like this that requires so much work will eventually go by the wayside. The fact that the Grauer Project brings our whole family together might be what makes the difference. All the family who live in the area gather to help at the event, bringing our children and grandchildren.

Since 2002, we have helped about 9500 children to be ready for the first day of school.”

Neighborhood House thanks Nancy and the entire Grauer family for running this amazing program, and for sharing her thoughts on the impact it has for area children. For more information, see https://www.grauerbacktoschool.com/