Dr. Sonia Oyola's Be Alright Gives Backpacks to Children

by Kathryn Nutting, MS2

Be Alright was founded in 2009 by Sonia Oyola, MD, with the mission of supporting survivors of domestic violence. The organization aims to establish shelters for survivors of domestic violence and to turn shelters into places of healing with the help of family members, friends, and the community. As the organization has grown, so has its ability to help. Be Alright sponsors children who live at the shelters as they go back to school, providing them with a backpack and the necessary school supplies to help them succeed. In 2017, 164 kids and teens from across Chicago domestic violence shelters, and even one shelter in Peru, will receive backpacks loaded with new supplies.

Dr. Oyola and Dr. Vela with Pritzker students
Dr. Oyola and Dr. Vela with Pritzker students

This year, several members of the Pritzker community joined Dr. Oyola in getting a few of these backpacks ready. We made our way down to Target and spent some time wandering among the new school supplies with excitement. Who doesn’t love new school supplies?! While it was fun to pick out new crayons and notebooks, it was also a reminder of how fortunate we are to have been able to do this ourselves growing up and how important it is to give back to our community. Dr. Oyola told us stories of the joy the children express when they receive their new bags, and that somehow each bag is perfectly paired with the right child. It can take such simple things in life to bring a smile to someone’s face, and this shopping trip for Be Alright was just a small reminder to pay it forward with kindness and crayons.