Pasco-Hernando State College is collecting donations of school supplies to assist schoolchildren of the Bahamas. An estimated 18,000 children and their families have been displaced since Hurricane Dorian struck the islands on September 1. Ten schools were destroyed on the island of Abaco alone, while many other schools sustained damages. The traumatized children of the Bahamas, some of whom lost family members, classmates, and their homes are transitioning to schools that are undamaged, but strained to accommodate additional students.
The need for school supplies became apparent when PHSC President Timothy L. Beard, Ph.D., connected with D’Angelo Ferguson, a PHSC alumnus, now a resident of Nassau and the CEO of the Alfred and Nancy Stuart Foundation.
Ferguson relayed the difficulties of helping traumatized children assimilate into unfamiliar schools. “School leaders are welcoming displaced students into their schools, even if not fully equipped to do so,” said Ferguson, a 2008 PHSC graduate. “Despite extraordinary circumstances, returning to school establishes a sense of normalcy that children desperately need. Donations of classroom supplies will help ease the strain for schools and students.”
Ferguson, who earned four associate in science degrees at PHSC, was a dynamic and popular student who invested his limited free time into helping others.
“D’Angelo is a natural leader and a force for positive change,” said Beard. “He established Men of Excellence, a still active student organization that encourages African-American students to succeed in college. We are proud of the role he has taken to help the children of the Bahamas.”
Donations of classroom supplies are being accepted at all PHSC libraries. Each College Store is also accepting donations and selling discounted supplies to anyone contributing to the drive. Needed items include new backpacks, flash drives, notebooks, binders, calculators, pens, pencils, art materials, and other typical classroom supplies. December 5 is the last day to donate items, to be shipped to the Bahamas in December.
PHSC campuses are located in Dade City, New Port Richey and Wesley Chapel in Pasco County and Brooksville and Spring Hill in Hernando County.