Submitted by Travis Manion Foundation

This August, one of the nation’s leading veteran nonprofit organizations, Travis Manion Foundation (TMF), will be hosting their first Back-to-School Character Day. Trained Veteran Mentors from TMF will be leading back-to-school events in 31 cities across the country for middle and high school students. This program will provide students with presentations to teach them confidence, character, and leadership, as well as give them the necessary school supplies needed for a successful academic year.

TMF Veteran Mentors are trained through the Character Does Matter program and impact more than 50,000 youth across the country each year. These mentors teach students courage, integrity, leadership, empathy, teamwork, and service. 

Through these Back-to-School Character Day events, Veteran Mentors will develop meaningful connections with the students by helping them bridge social divides, and equipping them with character, optimism, and the confidence to succeed in school. Participating students will receive a day of interactive character development lessons, games, and activities. Students will also receive a backpack full of school supplies to start the year. School supplies and fees for middle schoolers cost nearly $1,300 per student per year, and 1-in-5 students cannot afford these school supplies necessary for success. In addition, more than 1-in-3 young people do not have a positive role model or mentor(s). TMF’s trained Veteran Mentors are on a mission to end this disparity. 

As part of this initiative, from August 9-11, volunteers from Lakewood will be filling backpacks with supplies for students in need at various Lakewood Parks. Travis Manion Foundation is also asking the public to support this cause by sponsoring a backpack filled with supplies for students in the local community. Donations can be made through the link found here. Partners for this local initiative include Communities in Schools, Lakewood’s Choice, Pierce County, Springbrook Connections, and Caring for Kids. 

“Even after they take off the uniform, veterans continue to serve because they are natural leaders within the community,” said TMF President Ryan Manion. “I feel tremendous pride knowing that these veteran mentors will not only serve as role models to our next generation but will also lead an initiative to ensure those students have the proper tools to begin a successful school year.”  

About Travis Manion Foundation

Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) unites communities to strengthen America’s national character by empowering veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop and lead future generations. In 2007, 1stLt Travis Manion (USMC) was killed in Iraq while saving his wounded teammates. Today, Travis’ legacy lives on in the words he spoke before leaving for his final deployment, “If Not Me, Then Who…” Guided by this mantra, veterans continue their service, develop strong relationships with their communities, and thrive in their post-military lives by serving as character role models to youth. As a result, communities prosper and the character of our nation’s heroes lives on in the next generation.

The story of 1stLt Travis Manion and his Naval Academy brother LT(SEAL) Brendan Looney have been publicized in the book Brothers Forever, and additional information about the Foundation can be found at

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