SUITLAND, MD (WUSA9) - D.C. Police Sergeant Johnathan Branch and his wife, Kyi Branch, who also works for the department as a community outreach coordinator, hosted a school supply drive at their home in Suitland, Maryland.
The effort will help more than 2,500 kids in D.C.’s lower income neighborhoods.
The couple started the initiative five years ago. They were prompted to act, in part, by what Sergeant Branch saw on his beat: Kid’s growing up without shoes or electricity, for example, much fewer school supplies. Now, with each passing year, they are helping set more and more kids up for success.
“A lot of young men that I grew up with didn’t make it to see age 30,” said Sergeant Branch, who grew up in D.C. “They didn’t always have good examples.”
Kids — they don’t have a say in the environment in which they are raised.
One kid could be enjoying a playhouse, while another is sitting in his car seat, surrounded by men drinking and gambling, moments before he is hit by a stray bullet. A reality for one infant in DC earlier this week. And an all too familiar reality shaping destinies, at least in part, for countless other kids in D.C. and across the country.
When Branch and his wife started their school supply drive, the duo helped about 100 kids. Fast forward five years — more than 2,000 kids will have a new backpack and more.
“We have over 500 pencils, composition books, crayons and glue sticks,” Kyi said. “A little bit of everything, so we are going to bless a lot of kids this year.”
Moments like these — hosted to bring about positive change and attended by police officers — deserve more media coverage. That’s according to Sergeant Branch.
“It seems like drama sells,nation-wide” Branch said. “And unfortunately, we have had a lot of incidents, nationwide, but [there] is so much good that goes on that never gets covered.”
Branch added that he knows a lot of officers that “take money out of their own pockets to buy kids something to eat, something to drink, put food in refrigerators, things like that.”
Branch and his wife hope to one day open a non-profit, so more and more kids will have a better shot at achieving their goals.
If you want to support the school supply drive, you can make a donation on the Branch’s Go Fund Me Page: https://www.gofundme.com/5th-annual-school-supply-drive
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