EL MONTE – More than 50 Potrero School students jumped, cheered and grinned during an Aug. 23 assembly, where they received free backpacks filled with supplies such as pencils, notebooks and erasers, courtesy of Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center employees.

The El Monte City School District received 850 backpacks in total for students across its 14 schools. This is the first year that Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center employees have donated backpacks and supplies to the District.

“When students don’t have all the materials they need to learn, it does affect them,” Potrero School Principal Lorraine Torres said. “Thanks to this donation, some of our students can walk a little prouder and be confident because they have the tools they need to enhance their learning.”

Third-grader Leilani Garcia beamed with joy when she received a bright lime green backpack and rushed to show off her new supplies to friend and second-grader Mariah Moya. Moya excitedly showed Garcia her hot pink backpack, which was adorned with unicorns, stars and rainbows.

“My favorite thing about the backpack is all the school supplies it comes with,” Garcia said. “I got erasers, pencils, a pencil sharpener, crayons and a binder. I also love the way it looks.”

Garcia said she was thankful for the new backpack because her previous backpack was getting old and worn out.

Yolanda Padilla, linguistics and cultural services manager at Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park, said she gathered donations, contacted the District and setup the giveaway within a month.

“El Monte is part of the catchment area for Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park and we always want to give back to the community and provide outreach opportunities,” Padilla said.

Padilla and several employees, including administrators and nurses, attended the assembly to hand out the backpacks to dozens of smiling students.

“We would like to thank the employees of Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center for their generous donation,” Superintendent Dr. Maribel Garcia said. “These backpacks are a welcome gift to improve the self-esteem and academic achievement of our students.”


EMCSD_BACKPACK1: (Left) Second-grader Mariah Moya opens her new hot pink backpack as third-grader Leilani Garcia smiles and looks through her colorful school supplies. Moya and Garcia received the donated items from Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center employees during an Aug. 23 assembly.

EMCSD_BACKPACK2: (Left) Sixth-grader Eunice Munoz smiles and holds a tie-dye colored backpack while her friend, (right) sixth-grader Daniela Toledo, sifts through her new school supplies with Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Oncology and Infusion Department Administrator Gurdeep Singh. The two received backpacks and supplies from Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center employees during an Aug. 23 assembly.