University uniform drive to assist students in city schools

Orioles wear them. Ravens wear them. And most Baltimore City Public Schools kids do, too.

Uniforms have been adopted by many school systems countrywide because they're thought to create a sense of belonging and to eliminate distractions so that students can focus on their learning.

But not all families can afford them. Since 2011, the Johns Hopkins community has stepped up to provide more than 3,600 school uniforms to Baltimore City students whose families face financial difficulty.

Thanks to the university's Adopt-a-Student Uniform Drive, last year alone more than 400 young scholars from nearly 100 schools started their academic year dressed on an equal footing with their classmates and ready to learn.

Although uniforms are not always required, they are preferred in most of the city's elementary, middle, and high schools. They vary among schools, but the pieces are generally a specific color polo, jersey, or oxford shirt, worn with a particular color skirt, pants, or knee-length shorts.

A $40 donation provides a child with two uniforms; to learn how to sponsor a student, go here. Commitments are requested by Aug. 14.

Administrators of the program say that the number of students in need of financial support for uniforms is in the hundreds, so they hope for another strong response from the Johns Hopkins community in this fifth annual drive.

"Every contribution will make a positive difference in the academic experience of these children and the learning environment of our local schools," President Ronald J. Daniels wrote in a July 23 email to all faculty and staff. "Collectively, our commitment to this program reinforces the efforts of this university to support public education through volunteer activities, strong partnerships with local schools, and the Baltimore Scholars program.

"Thank you," he concluded, "for supporting these young scholars and a stronger Baltimore."