FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Back to School time is stressful for any parent. The season means an extra layer of stress and worry for parents of a child with special needs.

For Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center’s (CDTC’s) physicians, care coordinators and volunteers, easing their burdens is critical to the entire family’s health and well-being.

The center is reaching out to the community to help collect and fill nearly 1,000 backpacks for children in their care between July 9 and Aug. 2.

At the beginning of August, select CDTC families will be invited to a special Backpack Giveaway where nearly 1,000 of the center’s patients will have an opportunity to select a new backpack and fill it with school supplies.

Citizens can help by dropping off school supplies or gift cards for the children and collecting school supplies from friends and neighbors.

The annual Back to School Drive has become a tradition at the center, giving families an easy way to prepare their child for the classroom.

In addition, the center’s giveaway reduces the added financial burden that, in 2018, averaged just over $122 for school supplies per child.

Supplies are needed for students from pre-school through high school. The center’s wish list consists of all the basics including, backpacks for all ages, paper, pencils, pens, crayons, markers, folder and notebooks.

Supplies can be donated during business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and must be received by August 2, 2019.

“We do everything possible to help the families we serve thrive,” said Dr. Ana Calderon Randazzo, executive director, CDTC.

“Being ready for the classroom is important to every child’s success in life. We are so grateful to the community who helps us make preparations for the new school year a little easier for these amazing and dedicated families.”

The CDTC, an affiliate of Broward Health, is a not-for-profit that serves more than 12,000 clients with special healthcare needs in Broward County annually.

For more information about donating school supplies and a current wish list visit