Back-to-School Basics

The 9th annual Tarrant County Back to School Roundup on Aug. 7 provides tools for academic success for every student, regardless of socioeconomic status. This non-profit organization estimates that 10,000 qualifying students in grades K-12 will receive free school supplies, haircuts, immunizations and dental and health screenings.

But it doesn’t stop there. Back to School Roundup emphasizes that educating children who live at or below the poverty level is an important factor in reducing poverty. Family support is key.

With music, games and giveaways for children, Back to School Roundup also provides parents with information on literacy, parenting, nutrition, financial literacy, safety and social services.

Julie Parks, board president of Back to School Roundup 2013, acknowledges the need for this type of community support. “All of the children attending this event come from low-income families. Our goal is to make them feel ‘a part of and not apart from.’ It’s like a confidence boost, making them equal with their peers; this way, every student can have the confidence to achieve academic success.”

Parents must pre-register their children by Aug. 2. Students who qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program and are enrolled in a Tarrant County public school are eligible to attend. For every $25 donated, one child is able to receive all the benefits of this event, which is funded by private donations and in-kind contributions.

“It’s a very rewarding experience,” said Parks. “Seeing the kids smile when they get their supplies or a new haircut, knowing that we can encourage them to start the school year out right.