Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Staples Back to School Modern Family Event


As a mom who blogs I often write about topics such as education and community service.  Readers might recall some of my more popular posts related to school, like how to stay sane while home schooling and solutions to fighting kid cabin fever with preschoolers and elementary age kids, among others.

MBE partnered with Staples for this story

I also am big on teaching kids how to give back to the community.  So, when Staples gave me the opportunity to blend back to school and community service into a single post, I couldn't say no to the invitation.

It's inevitable, once we've hit the halfway mark of summer.  Parents like you and me have no choice.  It's time to start thinking about the coming school year and all the shopping it entails to get our kids ready for fall.


Staples, the office and school supply superstore, in some ways is like most of the other big brands, having just launched their back to school sales promotion over the weekend.  But Staples it turns out isn't just offering great deals on school supplies to those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to afford to buy everything our children need.   

To kick off the back to school shopping season Staples has done something truly extraordinary, that is worthy of mention.  Today, they gave away back packs filled with many of the things required for a successful school year to 75 needy kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Burbank and the Greater East Valley.

This community event was staged, appropriately enough, at the Staples store in Burbank in the shadow of the big studios that dot this part of Southern California.   On hand to charm the audience, debut his new commercials, and gift backpacks to these deserving young people was Rico Rodriquez, the star of Staples new back to school TV campaign.  

The 12 year-old, a Young Artist Award Winner, is quite a seasoned young actor.  For the past two seasons he's been adored by fans playing Manny Delgado on the ABC TV Emmy Award-winning Prime Time series Modern Family.   This is a show that I bet many of the kids attending watch regularly.  Rico told us today that he returns from hiatus on August 1 to begin work on Season 3.  I'm sure the show's entire following can't wait to see what Manny's character will be up to next!

Rico, BTW, was totally in his element as Staples official spokeskid.  He is amazingly upbeat, mature beyond his years, overflowing with warmth and confidence.  Ask anyone in that small crowd today, this young man was definitely the life of the party and he had us hanging on his every word.

For sure, many of the boys and girls were noticeably tickled to see a real live tween TV star in person up close for the first time as well as on the TV monitors on each side of the stage.  From my vantage point as a mommy blogger covering the event -- along with two of my 14 year-old triplets -- everyone seemed to be taking it all in, having a wonderful time, and especially appreciated the backpacks, too.   

Among the Staples brand products stuffed into the Extreme Access Bag n' Packs the kids received were
  • 1 inch, 3-ring binder
  • Spiral notebook
  • Bound notebook
  • Clear report presentation folder
  • A 120 page ream of lined filler paper
  • A box of 12 retractable mechanical pencils
  • A pack of 4 ballpoint pens
  • A fun calculator with maze game on reverse

As mommy of triplets plus one more all born within a year, I've had more than my share of experience with kids wanting the same thing, so I did notice one tiny glitch at the event.  Staples did have more than enough school bags for all the well-behaved Boys & Girls Club kids as well as the children of the mommy bloggers who attended and there were four different, really cool backpack styles to choose from.

Several of the choices were more popular than others, though, so not all the kids were able to get exactly what they wanted.  Some of the youngsters who had their eye on the Hot Pink Hawaiian pattern, for example, had to choose another style.  It's a minor point and just me speaking as a mom who's been around the block a few times, but it might be a good idea for a future event like this to either have enough of all the options available for the kids to choose from or even just have the same giveaway for everyone.


This brings me to an important point for all parents shopping at Staples and other stores this fall, though, that I think you'll find helpful.  When you shop for your school backpacks (and other major items) instead of buying 4 of a kind for your 4 kids and bringing them home, definitely take the kids along to the store.  That way you can avoid sibling rivalry by letting everyone pick their own.  Take this advice and chances are that you and your children will all end up a whole lot happier!

In summary, this Staples event is an exemplary show of caring and it should be lauded. Other brands have a lot to learn from community outreach affairs such as this -- because the reality is that there are too many kids who won't be able to afford all the school supplies they need this fall. 

About Staples
Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Boston, Staples today is the world's largest office products company along with providing a variety of related services.  The company has annual sales of $25 billion and ranks second in the world in eCommerce sales.  Staples -- which prides itself on corporate responsibility and community involvement -- has a presence online and/or in-store throughout the world in more than 26 countries.

My kids want laptops. What is the number thing that your own children want for back to school this year?  I remember covering my school books with paper bags in the 1960s. What memories do you have of back to school as a child yourself?

FTC Disclosure:  I attended the Back to School launch event Staples hosted to cover this story.  Also, two of my children attended with me and each received a backpack at the affair.  However, I did not receive any payment or other compensation associated with this post.  See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.