Spare Change News
Notebooks, pencils, crayons, hand sanitizer, rulers, paper, and folders made every book bag complete for each child who attended the Boston Public Health Commission’s 7th annual Book Bag Drive and Resource Fair.
In back of The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Dorchester hundreds of children and parents stood outside waiting to enter the fun filled and health conscious community event. After the long lines, which snaked down the street children were greeted with smiles from members and volunteers of the health commission. Hip hop music booming from the speakers, children dancing to the Cha Cha Slide, hosts, and DJ from Touch 106.1 FM, which donated two free radio ads daily to promote the Book Bag Drive made the event worth the wait.
Latasha Cooper, Connecting Families to School’s Program Manager and her planning committee representing organizations: Youth Development Network, Community Initiatives Bureau, and The Oral Health Commission said they were a bit reluctant to host the 7th annual drive because they started planning the event late, but as soon as the word hit the streets 250 members of the community preregistered a week before the book bag drive.
“We feel like this event is very important for the community. If we can give the kids some tools to start the foundation of the school year and not have any barriers that would prevent them from getting to school that first day then that’s our goal. We want to make sure every child has the opportunity to achieve their greatest potential,” Cooper said.
The children did not only receive resources to help them achieve their full potential academically, but they were provided with free dental screenings offered by Boston University’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Division of Community health programs. Kathy Lituri, Oral Health Promotion Director for Division of Community Health Program brought nine students from the university to perform over 55 dental screenings. “We’ve been busy,” Lituri said.
Stacey Robinson, Senior Youth Development Network Specialist for the Youth Development Network worked tirelessly along with her staff to hand out book bags to children for two and a half hours. “We gave away all 900 bags, ” Robinson said.
Other organizations that helped make the resource fair a success was Project Bread, National Kidney Foundation, and Network Health Plan.
“It was a great turnout! Overall, everyone that received a book bag were satisfied and happy,” Robinson said.
*Boston Public Health Commission 7th Annual Book Bag Drive Took Place on Wednesday August 24, 2011.