School supplies are not the only back-to-school expense that can impact a family’s budget. Mandatory school uniforms used in an effort to promote uniformity, lessen bullying, encourage equality and emphasize academic achievement instead of fashion can be costly. For families with several school-aged children, the mandatory dress codes can be especially burdensome.
Cory McGhee, founder of the “No Dead Beats Club,” assembled a team of volunteers in Annapolis who also strive to help underprivileged youth and families. McGhee founded the club in July this year, after using the #nodeadbeats hashtag on social media for a long time. When he decided that he wanted to do uplifting things for the youth in the community, he opted to stick with his familiar hashtag.
“We are aware that support, guidance and a sense of security plays a huge role in the growth and success in our youth,” McGhee said, explaining that these things are not available to many young people. “The team sat around trying to figure out what kids need for school. As we were brainstorming the usual school supplies came up, but we wanted to think deeper, and we came up with uniforms. Many on the team remembered being in school and having only one uniform to wear every day to school.”
The “No Dead Beats Club Back To School Bash” was held at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center in Annapolis, on August 25, 2019 to help ease the burden of buying school uniforms for the new school year. Approximately 70 elementary and middle school students received two new school uniforms each. The children participated in games and other fun activities plus many received haircuts.
McGhee added that he chooses to give back to the community because he was once an underprivileged child living in Annapolis. He also understands how hard it is for some parents, especially single ones, to provide for their families and be in a financial position to participate in fun activities.
The Annapolis father of three wants to help as many people as he can by being a mentor to youth and helping their families, even beyond the first event. Team members of the “No Dead Beats Club,” are like-minded volunteers, who responded to McGhee’s social media post about wanting to start a club with these goals in mind. The team recognized that the majority of elementary and middle school students in Annapolis are required to wear uniforms daily but realized that some of them may be in need of uniforms.
In the beginning, team members purchased uniforms with their own money. Later, they received donations from the public through Pay Pal and the Nodeadbeats Club Cash App to enabled them to shop for uniform shorts and pants in a variety of sizes. In a little less than a month, approximately 150 uniforms were purchased.
Deonte Ward, who is a member of the “No Dead Beats Club,” says that he has been volunteering in the community for 14 years. He is a full-time carpenter by day, and at night he works as a full-time youth program director for a non-profit.
“I’m giving back to the community because those that gave when I was a child helped provide a path for me to succeed despite the odds and adversity,” Ward said. “This is the beginning of a collaborative effort to helping families directly without governmental assistant. This helps bring more awareness to the communities in a unique way.”
Ward, also a parent, further explained that the volunteer group wants to be viewed as “big cousins” to youth. He says that the team can help bring more awareness to the communities in a unique way. He feels that individuals who are a part of the community can also make an impact on those who need help in it.
Both McGhee and Ward mentioned that more events are forthcoming.
“Our goal is to be that additional support in the concept of “It takes a village (to raise a child),” Ward said. “Well, we are the village.”
Requests for uniforms are still being made by local families. If you would like to donate to the uniform drive, funds are being accepted through CashApp via $NoDeadBeatsClub, or PayPal via firstname.lastname@example.org.