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MAKING A MARK: 18-year-old PE teacher collects 350 backpacks for students in need

T'Nia Olds says she remembers her own family struggling to afford school supplies. Now, she's equipping students with the gear they need for a successful year.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — T’Nia Olds recalls her days as a grade school student, and the stress of back-to-school season for her family.

"I have two older brothers and one older sister," said Olds. "My family was going through a little struggle, and my parents had to reach out to reach out to different people... about getting [school] supplies and stuff like that."

Now 18 years old and an elementary school physical education teacher, she’s seen more families than ever struggle through the pandemic.

"Every day, we're faced with different students from different backgrounds," said Olds. "They come from everywhere. Some families have it, some families just don't."

Ahead of the new school year, Olds said she wants to do something to help those students and families.

"I had a[n] aunt who would always hold a backpack drive in Norfolk," said Olds. "So, that was like, how I got inspired for this."

"It doesn't matter if it's one backpack, one supply-- as long as I'm impacting one person, that's all I care about," she said.

She ended up collecting more than 350 backpacks and hundreds of school supplies in just three months for k-5 students in need across Hampton Roads.

It’s her first year holding a back-to-school drive, but Olds said it won’t be her last.

"I want to look out for the generation that's [going to] come after me," she explained. "I want them to know that, you know, you're never too young to start anything."

She's certainly got a future in helping children.

"I just wanted to make [the drive] annual so every year, somebody will be impacted," she said.

The back-to-school drive is Saturday, Aug. 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot of Glenwood Elementary School in Virginia Beach.

It is for k-5 students only, and children must be present to get their backpack and supplies.

To donate or get more information, email Olds at tniathecreather@gmail.com. You can also follow Olds on Facebook.