You arrive at school to an empty dorm room. And outfitting that room with even the basics – sheets, towels, blankets, pillows and the like – can be very costly (according to the National Retail Federation’s Back to School report in 2012, the average back-to-college family spending was $907).

Enter stage right the Junior League of Bronxville. For the second year, in partnership with Yonkers Partners in Education (YPIE), the League held a successful “Dorm Room Drive” this spring to collect necessities for college-bound graduating high school seniors of neighboring Yonkers, which despite its location in affluent Westchester County, has a number of low-income neighborhoods.

The young women who participated in the event were all part of the YPIE’s college preparatory program, which provides the tools and tutoring necessary for a successful college career. The 30 incoming freshmen helped by this year’s drive have been accepted by colleges and universities throughout the country. Many of the participants in the program are also the first in their family to attend college; some are the first to finish high school.

Through a registry on Bed, Bath, and Beyond, JLB members contributed items which were distributed at a “shopping event” at the Yonkers Public Library. The young women and their families perused the bounty and chose their favorites. Said one participant, “You don’t understand how incredible this drive was to us girls. We loved every minute of it and couldn’t have expected anything better!”

The night included one-on-one interaction with League members and participants, as well as a brief presentation on The Junior League and its mission of enhancing the lives of women. Said Steffi Porter, JLB’s Community Events co-chair, “My favorite part is speaking to the girls after they have had a chance to pick their items, finding out a little more about them and where they are going to college and what their hopes and goals are. With this drive, we hopefully are able to ease the journey of these young women as they embark upon the great adventure of education and self-empowerment.”