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Established in 2015, Backpack International's founder, Oslyn Rodriguez visited Guyana, South America after
14 years, to celebrate her grandfather's 85th birthday.
Her family held an outdoor gathering and invited children from the local village to share in the celebration. About 50 children arrived. As everyone sang songs and enjoyed food and drinks, Oslyn began to look around the village. She didn't see a playground or park. There was no community center or positive outlets for these children. She jotted in her journal that she needed to do something to make a difference in the lives of children and youth in Guyana.
In the Summer of 2016, Backpack International, Inc. took a team of four volunteers to Guyana, South America.
Partnering with two local churches, they were able to serve 102 children. They held a 3-day VBS, distributed daily meals, and presented the children with certificates and backpacks filled with school supplies, hygiene items, toys, and more.
Every July since then, Backpack International has traveled to Guyana to host their annual "Christmas in July" Vacation Bible School Program.
To date, Backpack International has given away over 1000 backpacks to children, youth, and adults in need.
In June 2019, Backpack International expanded to include Sylacauga, Alabama as another service area. They hosted Vacation Bible School, provided evening meals to children and families in the community, and presented participants with bags filled with school supplies, hygiene products, toys, and more. Through their partnership with Campus Kitchens of Auburn University, Backpack International is also able to provide hot meals to the hungry in Sylacauga, Alabama.
Backpack International also provides various volunteer opportunities for students, families, and groups throughout the year.
Another component of Backpack International is Educational/Adventure Travel. Through their partnerships with organizations in Guyana, South America, students and individuals are able to experience another part of the world.