Jamaal Eubanks, born and raised on the south side of Madison, started a mentoring group, Pivotal Transitions around 2013. The group is to teach kids life skills and helping them prepare for their future. He furthered his dedication and came up with a way to raise money for the group and for other children in the community to get them prepared for school.
Summer is almost coming to an end, and it’s time for parents to start getting their kids ready to go back to school. With the help of Eubanks and other people within the community, children will be more than prepared.
Eubanks is making getting ready for school easier on parents physically and most importantly, financially. He put in a lot of work into making sure kids went into the school year with everything they needed and more.
“We do get some stuff donated,” Eubanks says. “We have had some people donate backpacks, notebooks, pens, scissors, stuff like that, but for the most part based on different fundraisers that we do, we’ll out and purchase a lot of it”. To fund those purchases, he came up with the “Polos and Sundresses” fundraiser.
The third annual edition of the event is scheduled for this Saturday, August 5 from 1-5 pm at the Nomad World Pub, 418 E Wilson Street in Madison. Tickets for the event are $10 in advance and $15 at the door, with all money raised funding the Pivotal Transitions Back to School Kickback
“This is for the adults to get an opportunity to socialize and network, while having fun, but also benefiting the kids in the community,” Eubanks says. There will also be free giveaways and raffle prizes (raffle tickets are $15, or two for $20). Prizes will include dinner and even hotel packages.
All proceeds will be going towards the Back to School Kickback, which is on August 27, at Angel’s joy Learning Center, 4293 West Beltline in Madison, from 3 – 6 pm. It is for all levels, elementary through high school, giving away shoes, haircuts, manicures, and most importantly everything needed for school such as backpacks and supplies.
They have a certain number and limited sizes, which will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.
“Kids can go back to school and could have your backpack and supplies, but have on the same pair of shoes that you had from last year, you’re not necessarily worried about paying attention in class, you worried about someone making fun of you,” Eubanks says. “We are trying to make sure that kids are going to school focused on school”.
This is helping families who struggle financially, having everyone come together in the community and help each other.
“For me, I am targeting a small part of the achievement gap,” Eubanks says. “If you are able to go in focused from day one, you don’t start off behind, versus some people that go in worried about what other people have to say”
They aren’t able to provide shoes for everyone. They have had great turnouts from previous years and they run out of shoes quite fast, but they try and do what they can to provide many other things, haircuts and manicures and most importantly the supplies for kids to go into school ready to learn.
“I am trying to do my part to close the achievement gap by eliminating barriers to focus on academics while in school,” Eubanks says. “everybody doesn’t have the same thoughts in regards to dealing with adverse situations in the appropriate manner to push through the self-esteem issues to do what’s needed in the classroom but hopefully this can be a gift to get the students to focus on school.”
Anyone able to donate or offer ideas for future events can email Jamaal Eubanks directly.