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Bill Capo / Action Reporter

It is the computer age, but the three-Rs are still critical lessons for students at Batiste Cultural Arts Academy. But some are also learning unfortunate lessons about the economy when their parents can't afford school uniforms, and leaders here say not having a uniform affects students.

'Oh the kids are singled out,' said Batiste School Site Coordinator Annie Bachrach. 'I mean, they don't feel like part of the team. They don't feel like they belong. I think they feel really special when they get a new uniform.'

'I think when you are wearing a uniform, and when you are dressed correctly then you feel better about yourself,' said Batiste School Leader Ron Gubitz.

This is the 15th year that Eyewitness News has partnered with the non profit Adopt-A-Family Program for the school uniform drive. But this year, with the economy the way that it is, getting donations is harder than ever. At the same time there's more need for help.

The Adopt-A-Family program has already raised $11,000, enough to help over 200 students at more than twenty New Orleans schools, but more requests are coming in.

'Well it looks like this year requests are going to be up about twenty to 25 percent, and I'm expecting another surge right after the Labor Day holidays,' said Adopt-A-Family Founder Kevin Buckel.

'It's been challenging , it's been challenging, but we're working hard, and we're trying to raise fifty dollars per student, and that's what we allocate to buy two new school uniforms,' said Buckel. And for every $50 that we raise we send back a thank you note, and the actual receipt.'

Batiste leaders appealed to the Adopt A Family Program's School Uniform drive for help to provide 40 uniforms, because some students don't come to class.

'We need a lot of help from Adopt-A-Family, the level of need in this school is very great. Every student receives one shirt, and you're talking about ten-year-olds running around in the same shirt all year,' said Bachrach.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOOL UNIFORM DRIVE, CALL THE ADOPT A FAMILY PROGRAM AT 831-4312.

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