The Backpack Challenge on July 31st at 3pm in LOVE Park. ItsForThe Kids

The public can donate online at,
at any Five Below location (there is an SKU at registers to donate $5
for a backpack) or drop off backpacks and school supplies at any of the
collection sites listed at
the Kick Off, the public is invited to attend to show their support and
learn mer about the campaign. We will also raffle 3 tickets to One
Direction on 8/13 at Lincoln Financial Field at the event.
Here’s the press release with more info:

Philadelphia Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Achieving Independence
Center (AIC) will hold a kick off for the Backpack Challenge on July
31st at 3pm in LOVE Park. The Backpack Challenge is an opportunity for
Philadelphia area businesses and residents to help older foster care
youth get off to a great start and be successful in school.

The AIC aims to collect 2,500 stuffed backpacks and $15,000 this
year. Thanks to partnerships with Wired 96.5, 92.5 XTU, Five Below,
Internet Essentials by Comcast, Forman Mills, Everfresh and the
International Longshoremen’s Association, the goal is already well
within sight. Last year, over 2,700 backpacks filled with school
supplies were collected through the Backpack Challenge. The effort also
raised more than $12,500 to purchase additional necessities for college
and high-school bound AIC members.

“These young people have worked so hard and overcome so many
challenges,” says Matt Smith, Director of Sales for XTU and Wired 96.5
parent company, Beasley Broadcast Group. “We are thrilled to do our part
to help them achieve their dreams.”

This year, 85 AIC members graduated high school and 65 of those
graduates have enrolled in a post-secondary program; 4 of those
graduates were also class valedictorians. In total, 124 members will
attend their first year of post-secondary school, 24 members enrolled in
a vocational program and 10 students graduated from a post-secondary

“We are so proud of the accomplishments of these youth. The fact
that so many AIC members have graduated high school and are attending
post-secondary school demonstrates that with access to role models and
support, all foster youth can achieve their potential,” says Ambrose.


The Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS) is
the City agency charged with protecting children from abuse, neglect,
and delinquency, ensuring their safety and permanency in nurturing home
environments, and strengthening and preserving families by enhancing
community-based prevention services. Through the development of
organizations such as Valley Youth House and the Achieving Independence
Center (“AIC”), DHS provides services to strengthen the overall
well-being of Philadelphia youth and families using a personal approach
that is responsive to evolving community needs.

Founded in 1973, Valley Youth House provides a first line of defense
for troubled young people and their families by partnering with
agencies, systems, and businesses to create unique programming intended
to preserve family life and provide youth with the necessary resources
to become productive and successful adults. Services are provided by a
professional staff, community volunteers, and student interns at
schools, family homes, offices and more than 100 residential facilities
throughout Lehigh, Northampton, Bucks, Philadelphia, Montgomery, Carbon
and Luzerne Counties.  The AIC, which is managed by Valley Youth House,
provides independent living services to approximately 1,100 young people
each year..

For more information about DHS, visit; for more information about Valley Youth House or the AIC, visit

Valerie Johnson, MBA

Development Officer
Valley Youth House – Greater Philadelphia
1500 Sansom Street, Suite 300A
Philadelphia, PA 19102