By Ruth Ferguson, NDG Editor
All of us remember the excitement of the first day of school. The night before you could barely sleep as you agonized over what outfit you would wear. You dreamed of all the new friends you would make, the fun extra curricular organizations you would join and so much more.
In those days school supplies seemed a lot simpler, the biggest decision was what Trapper Keeper you would pick out, the color of your folders and if you could get one of the cool pens. Now, back to school fashion is at an entirely new level and even when districts mandated uniforms, it appeared to just up the game on the accessories. Back to school supplies now come with items requiring charger cords and the backpacks are far more expensive. If your parents cannot afford these things, it can dim the excitement of returning students.
The 21st Annual Dallas Mayor’s Back to School Fair on Aug. 4 provided hundreds of children and the families an opportunity to receive back packs and much more. The event held in partnership with Walmart and Sam’s club featured a partnership between the City of Dallas, state agencies, non-profit organizations and plenty of volunteers.
One of the non-profit partners included the Dallas Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., according to Kim Cooks, a member of Jack and Jill, but who this year also had the privilege of serving as Chair of the Mayor’s Back to School Fair. She described Jack and Jill of America as, “a mothers organization which focuses on making sure our children have excellent social and cultural values. We believe in giving back to the community and making future leaders.”
For this event, the Jack and Jill volunteers manned the booth filled with books donated by Half Price Books. The books were provided to the students to help encourage a love of reading. Parents even had an opportunity to select books so they could read at their own leisure. Children who see their parents enjoy reading are often more likely to become lifelong readers themselves.
However, with the rising poverty rate throughout DFW, the need to help children to get school uniforms, school supplies, health checkups and backpacks are greater than can be provided in a single day. Each year, more business, faith and community organizations are beginning to donate time, money and supplies to help the children throughout the community.
Pollo Campero, the popular restaurant featuring fried and grilled chicken recipes, offered Irving elementary school students a leg up as they head back to school. On Monday, Aug. 7, Pollo Campero provided the first 100 Irving ISD elementary school students to arrive at the Irving Pollo Campero a free backpack filled with school supplies and a coupon for a free Pollito kids meal.
Upcoming Dallas area back to school events
Several more events are planned before everyone heads back to class. They include:
MLK Back to School Fest – The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center at 2922 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd in Dallas is hosting their event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 25. Students will receive free school supplies, backpacks, uniforms and hair cuts.
Back to School, Supply Carnival – Emanuel Community Center and Emanuel Lutheran Church and Iglesia Luterana Emanuel in Dallas are partnering to distribute a school supply give away for 400 school children on Saturday, Aug. 12 at Emanuel Community Center located at 4311 San Jacinto St.
Back to School Celebration – The City of Dallas Multipurpose Center at 2828 FishTrap Road in Dallas will provide free school supplies, immunizations, and haircuts from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Shoe Giveaway – Oak Gardens Church at 4008 S. Polk Street in Dallas is giving away shoes while supplies last on Saturday, Aug. 12 from 8 a.m. until Noon.
5th Annual Backpacks 4 Brainiacs – Hip Hop 4 Hope has partnered with Operation Community Care to present the 5th Annual Backpacks 4 Brainiacs Back to School Supply Rally and Concert at Southwest Center Mall (Redbird) at 3662 West Camp Wisdom Road on Saturday, Aug. 12 from Noon to 4 p.m.
Anyone with information regarding other back to school events planned, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and this list will be updated online.