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No matter the month, Joe and Alvin are ready to go back to school in Durham

Joe Uva and Alvin Coleman work in our Research Triangle Park office. Normally, they spend their time focused on IT solutions for our Pharmaceutical business but every summer they prepare for one day in August when we help send Durham kids back to school.

The process for back to school shopping for most kids kicks into high gear as the end of summer approaches. The list of school supplies is long and the necessary items can range from notebooks, to binders, pencils, rulers and even new backpacks. For many kids in our community, new school supplies are a luxury. We want to change that.

For the past 16 years, we’ve helped kids in Durham get ready to go back to school, in partnership with the Durham Rescue Mission. Each year, we hand out more than 3000 backpacks filled with items kids need to succeed in class.

Joe and Alvin have been a part of that effort for nearly 13 of those years and now lead the more than 300 volunteers who sign up for the event annually.

When asked what it means to them to participate, Joe shared:

Participating in the Durham Rescue Mission event is a great way for me to give back to the community. I respect the way the Mission partners with people in the community to help better their lives and I enjoy engaging with the staff, our volunteers and -- most important of all -- the kids and families in attendance. This is a very rewarding event and one that I look forward to each year.  

More importantly, we asked what it means to the kids in which Alvin shared:

I can only imagine what it is like to not be able to afford the basic necessities to start the school year, not only for the students but the parents alike. I have no doubt this event means a great deal to them (parents and students) and it shows in their smiles and gratitude when they receive the book bag.

We’re already looking forward to next summer, guys!

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