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One of my favorite things about AAMA’s National Fall Conference each year is that it provides special events that highlight our ongoing partnership with World Vision. Through the organization, AAMA has been able to support the educations of, by now, thousands of children across the country. While it’s extremely fulfilling to see the children pick out their own new backpacks, what you might not know is that a lot of work goes into making that moment happen during the preceding months. And it’s all thanks to World Vision, AAMA member companies, the AAMA Meetings Department and a group of the best volunteers you could ask for.

Every year, Mary Garcia from World Vision (pictured left) identifies a Title I elementary school in the area near where AAMA will be holding its fall conference. She reaches out to the school to offer our help, and serves as a liaison between the school district and AAMA. Then, AAMA Meetings Manager Florence Nicolici (pictured right) works hard to raise funds from AAMA member companies to cover the cost of 500 backpacks filled to the zipper with brand-new school supplies. A group of dedicated volunteers fills each backpack during the conference, and includes a hand-written note of encouragement inside each one.

I want to thank Mary and Florence for all the hard work they put in leading up to the conference, as well as our member companies for their generous sponsorship of this program. And finally, I want to thank our volunteers, who are primarily the spouses of some of our members attending the Fall Conference. They got up very early Monday morning to take the time to write hundreds of notes, and fill all 500 backpacks with things like pencils, pens, rulers, binders and more. They’re fast, too – all 500 were completed within an hour, as usual.

We at AAMA wish the students of Hollis Elementary a wonderful school year!