September 21, 2017
School & Youth
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  • Alexander Prigge led Boy Scout Troop 450 in assembling backpacks for the Blue Ribbon Project, an Annapolis-based nonprofit that provides needs and comforts items for foster children.
    Casey Pollock
    Alexander Prigge led Boy Scout Troop 450 in assembling backpacks for the Blue Ribbon Project, an Annapolis-based nonprofit that provides needs and comforts items for foster children.

Eagle Scout Project Fills Backpacks With Love

Rosalie Spielman
Rosalie Spielman's picture
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February 8, 2017

For child victims of abuse who are taken into custody by social services, it must be a frightening time, as they are thrust into a new house with strangers, without any of their own belongings. But there exists a program to help these children as they enter emergency foster care.

Life Scout Alexander Prigge saw a way of helping these children through completing his project to become an Eagle Scout. Prigge, of Severna Park Troop 450, had been looking for an Eagle Scout project that would provide direct assistance to people in need. It was then that his mother, Anastasia, told him about Project Blue Ribbon and its need for support.

An Annapolis-based nonprofit, the Blue Ribbon Project was founded by Annapolis City Police Detective Thomas Pyles, who wanted to support the young survivors of child abuse while giving back to a system that had helped him as a child. The organization operates in multiple counties in Maryland, and its members hope to expand their philanthropic reach to other counties and beyond. They are committed to the prevention of child abuse and neglect, and serve as a support network for survivors of child abuse, foster care and child sexual assault.

Pyles saw that children were being removed from their unsafe situations and taken to foster care with nothing but the clothes on their backs. One of the five programs within the Blue Ribbon Project is Backpacks of Love, which provides support to children by providing backpacks filled with supplies for a few days. The backpacks typically hold one or two pairs of clothing, pajamas, toiletries, books and age-appropriate toys.

Prigge’s project goal was to raise funds and gather donations to prepare and fill 25 backpacks. Each backpack costs between $25 to $50, the price differing as each is intended for a different age group. Once Prigge received approval from his scouting committee, the project took about five months to complete. In October 2016, he wrote a letter asking for donations and was impressed by the response. He ended up exceeding his target monetary goal of $2,000 through generous support of his family, friends and neighbors, as well as the families of his troop and school. Some people donated items like backpacks, clothing and diapers, but most donations were monetary. He ended up raising $2,200, and the extra funds will go directly to the Blue Ribbon Project.

“I was just really wowed by how much people care; they went above and beyond my expectations for how much they’d donate,” Prigge said. “I ended up with three or four times what I actually needed, so that was pretty great.”

On February 4, his troop gathered at the Backpacks of Love headquarters in Crownsville to put together the backpacks. The backpacks and leftover funds will be donated to the Blue Ribbon Project.

In addition to working up to the top award in scouting, Prigge is also involved with Project Lead the Way, an engineering program at Severna Park High School. He has taken Chinese for five years and played violin for 10; he runs varsity track and enjoys weight lifting. He expects to finish the requirements for his Eagle Scout rank next summer.

For more information on the Blue Ribbon Project, visit www.theblueribbon.org.


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