Arlington Families Get Some Back-To-School Help
By Office of Communication
Posted on August 20, 2012, August 20, 2012

When City Councilman Robert Rivera and educator Geoffrey Mitchell launched a back-to-school event for Arlington students to receive free health checkups, school supplies, backpacks and even haircuts, Rivera's hope was for the gathering to flourish and eventually swell "into something really big. That was the idea."

Eight years later, it's certainly flourishing. In fact, the 8th Annual Back 2 School Bash is bursting at the seams with such popularity that this year students and their parents were able to choose between a pair of sites on different sides of the city. Overflow crowds still turned out at both locations; more than 4,000 were expected to be served this year.

Big, it seems, is now an understatement.

Lines snaked down a hall and around the corner at Sam Houston High School by the time the doors opened at 10 a.m. on Saturday. School-aged children were led into the school cafeteria where they were able to pick up pencils, pens, construction paper, markers, colored pencils, crayons and a roomy backpack to stuff it all in.

A similar scenario was occurring at the Junior League in central Arlington where students were able to receive dental and vision screenings, get an introduction to Tae Kwon Do and plop down for haircuts.

"First and foremost, this is about education, about making sure on the first day of school kids are ready to learn with the things they need to learn with," said Bridgett Davis, a community activist volunteering at the Sam Houston site. "It's a blessing, really. Some of these families can't afford all of the supplies that's needed for elementary and junior high school. Here you get folders, markers, and paper - all for free. Just show up."

Tracy Johnson and her three school-aged children showed up early at Sam Houston and secured a spot near the front of the line.

It took a while to get through but she was hardly disappointed. "We needed construction paper, notebooks and colored paper - something that's really hard to find in stores," said a jubilant Johnson, who has a freshman at Sam Houston, a seventh grader at Guy Hutcheson Junior High School and a sixth grader at Lynn Hale Elementary. "How great this is for people who really need it. They even had tissue here. We need to bring tissue now so this is right on time."

Arlington ISD Board Member Gloria Pena said the event gets "bigger and better" each year thanks to continued community support.

"We need to make sure the community is involved with helping and supporting our students," she said. "It's a community event put on by the community to help. Partnerships in our city are what it's all about."

Arlington Families

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