You walk to the register to buy your annual new backpack. The usual scenario plays out. You decide which color suits your vibe, pull it off the rack to check out all the features, throw it on to make sure it’s comfy and then of course casually glance in the mirror. You then decide, “Yup…I’m getting this bag.”
Maybe it’s not a big deal to spend $59. Perhaps you’ve been working all summer to pay for the bag you’ve been coveting since seeing it in the American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) stores. Or maybe it’s a future gift from your parents. Whatever the case may be, we want to say thank you. Because you’re not just buying a backpack for yourself, through your purchase AEO will donate another STATE backpack to a local child in need.
Back in 2009, we created Camp POWER – a nonprofit summer camp for hundreds of kids growing up in Brooklyn’s most underfunded, turbulent neighborhoods. The goal of the program was to get kids out of the loud, hot city. But more than that, we wanted to provide positive role models, and give kids a space to try different things and meet new friends. A place that allows them to simply act their age. So many kids in these neighborhoods grow up far too fast. What our program does is slow down the speed of life, and remind them of their incredible value and remarkable potential.
Each summer, we witnessed countless kids carrying all their belongings in trash bags. It became more and more clear that in addition to a week away from Brooklyn, the kids also needed new bags, new jackets, shoes, and a whole bunch of “stuff.” But we also noticed that “stuff” could only go so far. It was encouragement from aspirational figures and love that would propel them to beat the odds stacked against them. All of this inspired us to create STATE Bags.
We built STATE on two cornerstones: 1) for every bag sold, one will be donated to an American child in need – bringing the buy one give one model to our own backyard, and 2) providing inspirational role models in the STATE PackMen/Women – young men and women who have successfully risen from the very neighborhoods we help serve. This is what our GiveBackPack Program is all about.
So as you make your way to the register this season with your (very) cool new bag, take pride in the fact that you’re not just wearing a backpack, but a GiveBackPack. A statement that you made a choice to help improve the world around you.
Thank you to American Eagle Outfitters, its millions of dedicated customers, and Teach For America for making our dream come true in donating thousands of brand new bags – packed with supplies donated by AEO associates – to kids across the US this back to school season.
We promise that every purchase makes a difference. STATE and AEO have your back!