This Back-to-School Season, Remember the Three Rs

Shop-FBwallpostBefore students can get back to their desks and pick up the traditional three Rs — reading, writing and arithmetic — there’s one end-of-summer hurdle to get out of the way: back-to-school shopping!

Parents, before you run in horror, hide your car keys and tear up your checkbooks, you should know that the back-to-school shopping season doesn’t have to be stressful or wallet draining. In fact, it can be a fun time to help your kids learn something new, have an impact in your community and save money. Yes, all of this can be accomplished by following three new Rs.

1. Research:
Instead of making a mad dash for the mall, you and your kids can learn about helping the community by donating to and shopping at Goodwill® for back to school.
At Goodwill, we turn the value of donated goods into job training and placement programs, and at the Donate Movement website (, you can easily find out exactly how much of an impact your used goods can have by entering what you have to donate. For example, three pairs of gently used jeans provide 31 minutes of career counseling for one of your neighbors. Your kids can read about exactly how those career counseling classes have helped job seekers here and in other communities, while younger children can play the Donation Match Game ( to find out what items can and should be donated. Then, of course, you can enter your zip code on the Donate Movement website to find out how and where to donate.

2. Reuse:
Students can have an impact in the community during the back-to-school season in two ways. First, they can make room in their closets, bedrooms and backpacks and donate gently used clothing and household items to Goodwill, where their value will be turned into job training and placement programs. Second, by opting to purchase reused items for school, the value of what they buy also goes directly back into helping the community. Young shoppers can find everything from clothes and school supplies to bikes, electronics and sports equipment at their local Goodwill store.

3. Revisit:
With families now spending more than ever before on back-to-school shopping, it can certainly help to put off some of the purchases until later in the year. By returning to Goodwill throughout the school year, you can make sure you’re only buying items you really need (and you can probably get some of those must-have back-to-school items at deeply discounted prices in just a few months). Throughout the year, revisit the Donate Movement site to learn how your donated goods are having an impact, and return to Goodwill to drop off used items and find new ones

With thousands of schoolchildren in Summit, Portage, Medina, Ashland and Richland counties saying goodbye to summer, it’s time for all of us to resolve to stop letting the back-to-school season stress us out, and instead see it as an opportunity to learn something new and do some good.

This back-to-school season, remember the other Three Rs: Research, Reuse, Revisit!