URI police collecting school gear, cash to help kids get good start in school

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KINGSTON, R.I. – August 22, 2016 – Last year when John Bush was a supervisory aide at South Kingstown’s Curtis Corner Middle School, he saw firsthand how an effort by the University of Rhode Island Police Department helped children in the school.

Now, the recently hired URI police patrolman is part of the “Kids, Cops and Classrooms” initiative to help parents with the cost of sending their youngsters back to school. Those interested in helping can drop off new backpacks, pencils, pens, markers, other school supplies and cash donations at the URI Police Station, 85 Briar Lane. The drive ends Monday, Aug. 29.

They can also make donations at the Total Image Hair Salon and Rhode Island Credit Union in the Memorial Union, 50 Lower College Road, the Katie DeCubellis Memorial Foundation Academic Commons in the Department of Athletics, the Department of External Relations and Communications on the second floor of the Alumni Center, 73 Upper College Road, and the URI Foundation, 79 Upper College Road.

“Last year URI police provided Curtis Corner Middle School with more than 40 backpacks, a couple thousand pencils and several hundred packets of paper,” said Bush, who is now working with URI Police Maj. Michael Jagoda and Patrolman Paul Hanrahan to collect the items and cash donations.

“What I saw last year was amazing,” Bush said. “When kids didn’t have what they needed, the teachers would send them to my office. I would tell the kids, ‘Let’s go shopping.’ Then we’d go to the storage closet and fill a backpack with school supplies. It feels good to help because a lot of kids come to school with nothing.”

Children at other schools throughout South Kingstown and other districts also benefited from the efforts of the URI police.

Last year, URI police became involved with the initiative launched several years ago by the Rhode Island State Police.

Bush said some of the materials were kept at the school and loaned to students so they wouldn’t lose them or have siblings get their hands on the supplies.

“Sometimes, kids would come to my office to work on their projects,” said the former star football player at URI.

“This helps me stay active in the school community, because I don’t want to lose my connections with the students in South Kingstown.”

Those with questions should call Jagoda or Hanrahan at 401-874-4910.