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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt prepares backpacks for Mooseheart Back to School Bash

GENEVA – It took less than an hour on Aug. 15 for employees at the Geneva office of Boston-based publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to fill 100 backpacks with school supplies for Mooseheart’s students, states a news release.

The backpacks and the supplies were prepared for Mooseheart's annual Back to School Bash, which was scheduled for Tuesday. The event set the stage for the new school year prior to Wednesday’s first day of classes.

"I love this project because it brings people from all different departments together,” said Lindsay Adamzak, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt account executive, in the release. “Our goal had been to have 50 percent participation in this. Last year, we had something like 87 percent.”

This is the third consecutive year Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Geneva office staff provided backpacks filled with supplies to Mooseheart’s students. The project is coordinated through the company’s Community Investment Council, for which Adamzak is the project manager.

Half the backpacks are going to Mooseheart’s elementary school students, while the rest will go to the middle school students, according to the release. Mooseheart high school students provide their own backpacks.

Some of the items for the backpacks are purchased and donated by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s employees. Other items, including the backpacks, are funded by the council's budget. Together, the items represent a significant savings as Mooseheart prepares its students for the school year, states the release.

“There are always fewer students than backpacks we provide,” Adamzak said. “We always have a few backpacks ready for students who come in during the year. That way, those students start with a backpack full of supplies, too.”

Every item in the backpacks will be put to use, said Jeff Szymczak, Mooseheart superintendent of education.

“One-hundred percent of our supplies are donations,” Szymczak said. “Every pen, every pencil, every sticky note comes from money given to us by the Moose because our kids aren’t coming to us [with] all these items. So this helps out a lot.”

Founded in 1913, Mooseheart is supported completely through private donations – the great majority of which come from the 1.1 million men and women of the Moose fraternal organization, in more than 1,700 lodges and 1,600 chapters located throughout the U.S., Canada, Great Britain and Bermuda. Moose International headquarters is located on the Mooseheart campus.

Since its founding, Mooseheart has operated a complete, accredited kindergarten-through-high-school academic program, plus art, music, vocational training and interscholastic sports. It is an extremely nurturing and student-tailored program, with an average student-teacher ratio of 12-1, states the release.

Mooseheart is currently home to roughly 230 students, ranging from preschoolers to high school seniors. Applications for admission to Mooseheart are considered from any family whose children are, for whatever reason, lacking a stable home environment. Mooseheart boasts its own U.S. Post Office and a fully functioning branch of Fifth Third Bank, states the release.

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