Multiple back-to-school events help Leon County students and their families prepare for this week's start of classes
With back-to-school time just a few days away, the Tallahassee area was the scene of many events to help students get ready the weekend before the start of classes. The largest of these was the “Jumpstart 2 Success” happening at Lively Technical College Saturday morning.
There were dozens of booths and exhibits, all offering free school supplies, along with dental screenings, hair braiding and haircuts, food and fun. Whole Child Leon, headed by Courtney Atkins, was the lead agency in the endeavor.
“It was a lot of work, but (also) a lot of fun and we’ve had all kinds of things, like Master Caleb (Discovery Library) to the Sheriff’s Office and Walmart. It’s wonderful to work together and bring everybody together,” Atkins said.
And, with an estimated 2,000 students and their families showing up, Shonda Knight with the Sheriff’s Office said plans are already afoot for an even bigger event in 2023.
“You know our vision for this is to bring even more community partners together so that we can serve more of our community. Because cylearly the need is there and we want to be able to meet it fully.”
While the Lively event was taking place, Tallahassee’s Sabal Palm Community Partnership School a few miles to the south was seeing some love from its community supporters. A total of 26 community organizations showed up to provide Sabal Palm students with most everything they’d need to get the new class year underway. Among those supporters was Experience Church, where Jordan Tardo is the lead pastor.
“So the way we give to others is backpacks and school supplies and tennis shoes,” he explained.
And Frederica Wilson who teaches 3rd grade at Sabal Palm said that support and encouragement was translating into more excited, more motivated students.
“And it bridges the gap between the parents, teachers and the students to have the community come to our rally. The students are running up to me excited, telling me they can’t wait to start.”
Sabal Palm adopted the community partnership model in 2018. School administrators say some soon-to-be-released data shows significant academic improvements since then.
The preparatory push continued on Sunday. Members of the Junior League of Tallahassee were helping with the area's back-to-school preparation at Kohl's Department Store on Apalachee Parkway. Incoming President Becca Piers said her organization had invited hundreds of area families to take part in a shopping spree.
“This is actually the 26th anniversary of Kids' Boutique. And what we've found is the need in the community is growing every year. This year we invited about 250 kids out to come shop. Last year we were at 187, so we're finding the need is just continuing to increase.”
Ten other community organizations were also on hand to provide other kinds of resources for the kids and their families.