REALTORS® Make Record Backpack Contribution to East Tennessee Youth Villages Office

The Knoxville Area Association of REALTORS® (KAAR) joined forces with Youth Villages on Thursday, August 1 to fill 425 backpacks for Youth Villages’ annual Backpack Heroes campaign. These backpacks were distributed to kids all across the East Tennessee Region to help them start the school year off on the right foot. KAAR’s Community Involvement Committee, Youth Villages Staff, and Youth Villages Lifeset Scholars (foster kids who have since aged out of foster care) were all on hand to help fill the backpacks with supplies during the event.

KAAR began partnering with Youth Villages in 2010 to help children across East Tennessee whose families simply cannot afford to purchase backpacks and school supplies. In less than ten years’ time, KAAR has increased its initial backpack drive from 40 backpacks & supplies to over 400. Much of that success can be contributed to the creation of an annual Birdies for Backpacks Golf Tournament, which has helped raise nearly $30,000 in the past two years to benefit the Backpack Heroes program.

“In the past, we’ve typically been able to accommodate 150-200 kids, but our goal was to not just exceed that number but double it in 2019.  In order to do that, we decided to be more intentional with our funds, and with the excess money raised from last year’s tournament, we went out and purchased clearance backpacks from area stores to get a jumpstart on 2019.  By doing that, we’ve helped over 400 kids across the region, and I sincerely hope to make that 600 in 2020,” said Caitland Orlicz, KAAR’s Communication Director & staff liaison to the KAAR Community Involvement Committee.

Knoxville Area Association of REALTORS® was founded in 1912 and is one of the largest REALTOR® associations in the state with over 4,000 REALTOR® members in 12 counties.  KAAR’s membership services Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Cumberland, Fentress, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, and Union Counties.  KAAR is one of over 1,200 local boards and 54 state and territory organizations of REALTORS® nationwide that make up the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).