Back to school challenges – Kelowna News

Back to school challenges

Alanna Kelly

Getting a child ready to head to school can not only be incredibly stressful and expensive, but many of the costs don’t appear until the kid is in the classroom.

Back to school lists created by businesses often don’t include the extra costs parents will face once the school year starts.

Shannon Christensen is the executive director of Mamas for Mamas, a non-profit that supports low-income mothers in Kelowna. 

Christensen says back to school shopping can end up being costing close to $1,000, compared to the $200 many lists say.

“It’s nice to have a one-stop shop where parents say, ‘oh my gosh, I had no idea my son needed this calculator for trigonometry, I didn’t realize we needed all theis extra equipment for gym, new running shoes that don’t have black soles,’ or a whole bunch of extra stuff,” she said.

At Mamas for Mamas they see a high demand for high school students needing back to school materials.

“It’s the teenagers I find that don’t get what they are in need of,” she said. “We really try getting the older kids access to stuff they need.”

These things include a proper backpack, a good solid binder, a scientific calculator and a good reusable water bottle.

“When you get a list like that it can be really overwhelming for moms, especially if you are just starting with your first kid in kindergarten,” she said. “You don’t really know what they need and you get this giant list of things you feel like you should go buy and then you find out half of it is not needed.”

Christensen said a lot of schools are great about waving fees included in field trips but some just can’t afford to do so.

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