More than a dozen neighborhoods host 2019 Back to School Rallies
A group of Arlington Elementary teachers volunteered a Saturday morning for the Neighborhood Back to School Rallies because they appreciate the value of everyone’s contributions to their students’ success. “The community is such an important part of the school piece. Any type of community event that the school can also be involved in builds that support,” said Sarah Collins, a second-grade teacher who helped with games outside Total Grace Baptist Church on North Limestone. “We’re excited to see the kids, too” Collins added. “They see the connection and realize the community supports them.”
The YMCA of Central Kentucky -- working with Fayette County Public Schools, business sponsors, and community partners – handed out thousands of free backpacks filled with basic school supplies at more than a dozen parks, churches, and community centers around Lexington. The goal of this annual event is not only to prepare children for school but also to unify neighborhoods for self-advocacy and community planning.
Each neighborhood distributed backpacks for elementary, middle, and high school students. Beforehand, children and families enjoyed lawn games, inflatables, face painting, arts and crafts, and food and drinks. Resource tables featuring such groups as HealthFirst Bluegrass (Healthy Kids Clinics) and the Community Action Council also provided materials for education and family support.
Off Eastland Parkway, a crowd gathered at Church of the Nazarene, which partnered with Remnant Community Church to serve students mostly from Yates and Dixie elementaries, Crawford Middle, and Frederick Douglass High School. “This grew out of our partnership with Yates,” said the Rev. Andrew Newman. “We seek to be a blessing to our neighborhood, and this is one of the tangible ways we do it.”
The other 2019 sites included Bainbridge / Squires, Coolavin Park, Coventry Oak Elementary, Douglass Park, Gainesway Community Center, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Green Acres Park, Pralltown / Lou Johnson Park, Radcliffe / Marlboro Park, Russell Cave Church of Christ, Shiloh Baptist Church, Total Grace Baptist Church, Valley Park, and Woodhill Park.
This year's chief sponsors for the backpacks were FCPS, Setzer Properties, Windstream, Anthem, Commonwealth Credit Union, Wildcat Moving, LG&E and KU Foundation, WBTF.FM, Rotary of Lexington, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, and University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union. Countless others also contributed within their neighborhood, such as Green’s Toyota and Noey’s Mission of Love, which brought bottled water and clothing donations to Church of the Nazarene, respectively.