Campers at Hartford's Camp Courant in Farmington enjoyed spending time with State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier last week, in an engaging give-and-take on state government and education, and received backpacks filled with school supplies.
"If you start school off prepared with adequate school supplies and ready to learn, you have a better chance of doing well
academically," Treasurer Nappier said. "We even have a piggy bank in the backpacks so you can save your money, and get in the habit of saving for college," she added.
She also told the children that, to be successful in school, "Study hard. And pay attention to the teacher. Don't be afraid to ask a question or participate in class. If you don't understand a subject, ask the teacher. It is the teacher's responsibility to help you learn."
The State Treasurer's Office is partnering with the State Department of Children and Families (DCF) and Hartford's Camp Courant to distribute 1,700 backpacks throughout Connecticut. Also attending the program was DCF Deputy Commissioner Michael Williams, who told the children that his agency is pleased to be able to help so many children across the state.
CHET is providing backpacks filled with school supplies to students in need who will be entering kindergarten through sixth grade. On July 24, Treasurer Nappier, who is Trustee of CHET, visited Camp Courant, whose 700 campers received backpacks. In August, CHET and DCF will distribute the remaining backpacks to children across the state.
In addition to CHET's Backpack Donation Program, employees of the Office of the State Treasurer, Department of Economic & Community Development, Office of the State Comptroller and Department of Consumer Protection are coordinating donation efforts within their respective agencies. Backpacks and supplies collected by these offices will supplement CHET's donations, and will be distributed in August to elementary school children through social service programs.
"Thanks to CHET, 1.700 children are receiving basic tools like pencils, notebooks and folders that they will use to blossom into bright young students today and Connecticut's economic engines in the future," Treasurer Nappier said of the donation program.
"An ancillary benefit of this program is the opportunity to inform families of the importance of saving for tomorrow's higher education costs. It's important for families of all incomes to understand how CHET can help them access the dream of a college education," Treasurer Nappier added.
At Camp Courant, campers boarded their buses home with colorful bags filled with notebooks, folders, pencils, crayons, and a piggy bank. In addition, each backpack includes a brochure about CHET and the importance of saving early for higher education expenses.
"We are so thrilled to partner with State Treasurer Nappier and CHET again this year to give all of our kids a stuffed backpack," said Josh Reese, executive director at Hartford's Camp Courant. "The backpacks will help ensure that these kids start the school year off right. This donation also helps their parents, who don't have to worry about how to pay for the backpack and supplies."
Hartford's Camp Courant is the largest free day camp in the nation and the only camp in Hartford offering free transportation, dental and social services. The six week summer program also provides two meals per day, recreation and educational services for Hartford youth.
DCF supports thousands of disadvantaged families and children across the state with various social and economic services. The state agency will distribute the backpacks through its regional offices located in Bridgeport, Hartford, Danbury, New Haven, Meriden and Waterbury.
The Backpack Donation Program is one of CHET's initiatives to support local communities in Connecticut. With the help of organizations like Hartford's Camp Courant and DCF, CHET continues to support programs that promote education and financial literacy throughout the state.
About CHET: The State of Connecticut offers CHET to help families save for future college costs. The CHET direct-sold 529 college savings plan was established in 1997, and as of June 30, 2014 has grown to more than $2.2 billion in assets and more than 96,000 accounts. That compares with 4,000 accounts and $18 million in assets in 1999 when Treasurer Nappier began to supervise CHET. The plan manager is TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. CHET offers tax advantages and some of the lowest fees in the country for a state-sponsored college savings account. Earnings withdrawn from CHET accounts for qualified higher education expenses are free from federal and state income taxes. Since 2006, a state income tax deduction has been available for contributions to CHET accounts.