CDTC Back to School Brigades Kickoff a New School Year for Children with Special Needs

For the families of Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center (CDTC), Back to School became a community effort this year. The Center traditionally distributes school supplies in August to help prepare children with special needs and their siblings for a new school year. With the COVID-19 pandemic still limiting community gatherings, this year’s event looked tremendously different while still providing the same excitement and smiles.

CDTC staff and volunteers hosted a series of outdoor “brigades” in the Center’s parking garage the week before school began. Nearly 600 children received a new backpack and supplies as they drove through the pick-up line. Volunteers and their dogs from Canine Assisted Therapies joined the brigades, visiting vehicles to the delight of children and adults.

The Center’s families also received an additional boost this year. Each family received groceries and snack packs from Helping Hands Food Drives, a gift card to assist with hurricane supplies and a Wellness Kit from Broward Health.

“We knew our annual Back to School distribution would be challenging this year with so many questions about the start of school and the need for social distancing,” shares CDTC Executive Director Ana Calderon Randazzo, Ph.D. “But we couldn’t let our families down when so many are in need.”

CDTC’s Primary Care Center and Care Coordinators will continue distributing another 100 backpacks to families who couldn’t make it to the Brigades to pick-up items. In all, the Center hopes to deliver around 600 backpacks this year.

“We are incredibly grateful to the community for providing funds and supplies this year, including the Community Foundation of Broward, The SMART Ride, 626 and Wright Maritime,” shares Dr. Calderon Randazzo.