The True Impact of a Backpack
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Section: News

By Michelle Ignacio, A.O. Reed

BOMA San Diego members tapped into their networks to spread the word about the Annual Back-To-School Drive benefiting Promises2kids.  This Drive focused on the needs of foster youth ages pre-school to 6th grade.  BOMA members used their ‘work’ skills and chased down a variety of leads; seeking out prior donors, recruiting new participants, asking for referrals, writing letters, and hosting mini-Drives with their tenants to communicate the need for this Cause. The strategic use of social media and online resources gave members an opportunity to express foster youth needs and seek out donations from extended networks to include Members’ families and friends.

For 2018 Back-To-School Drive, BOMA collected 937 backpacks and lunch bags, 6,917 school supplies, and $3,052.00 in monetary donations!  New backpacks and school supplies collected during the Drive were distributed just in time for the new school year.

The Drive ended at the August Membership meeting, where Promises2kids’ Guardian Scholar Tiffani Hamilton captivated BOMA San Diego members and guests by sharing her story about growing up in foster care and explaining the true impact of a backpack.  As BOMA San Diego Vice-President Amber Molina commented “(Tiffani’s) story resonated. It really puts into perspective why we support this Drive. 

“Hello all, my name is Tiffani Hamilton. I am a 4th year at San Diego State and I am majoring in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis on Counseling, Criminal Justice, and Women’s studies. We all understand the importance of a backpack. I consider it as our first success starter 
kit, because it keeps us prepared for the day. I got my first backpack around the time I was 5, and now I am 21 and still have the need for a backpack. As I’m sure we can all remember, kids can be cruel. I heard that saying far too many times growing up. Before I was placed in the foster care system, I was living in a house with no running water, or electricity. My “house” was filthy and I would still go to school every day and get teased because of my appearance. I used the same backpack from 1st grade to 4th grade. I would beg my mom for a new backpack at the beginning of every year and she would say the same thing every time, “I just bought you one.” My backpack had enough wear and tear, it developed holes. One day, a couple of kids were making fun of it, tossing it around and pulling on it, they managed to rip the hole completely open, and all of my stuff fell out from the bottom. I had to bring my school supplies in a plastic grocery bag for the rest of the school year. I just wanted to fit in with my peers; instead, I was a visible outcast. 

Most people won’t think twice about their backpack, and 
to them it will always be something that is easily replaceable. For me, and so many other youth
like me, it's one of the few things that is OURS. Our lives are constantly changing, and we are always moving around from place to place, so our backpacks really become’ the only piece of “home” we have. For a lot of us, it is all we have. 

Thank you for your continuous support to Promises2Kids. Your kindness and generosity ensure a brighter future for foster youth.”

To learn more about Promises2kids, please visit
To find out more about the Guardian
Scholars, please visit