By SCOTT BRENT
For the Times-Herald Newspapers
DEARBORN — Children geared up for the school year Sept. 17 at Ford Field Park as the Dearborn PTA and staff from Learning Advancing Helping Communities handed out 500 backpacks.
Each backpack came with a recyclable shopping bag, water bottle, and pencil. The bags showcased an image from MyPlate, listing various food groups and healthy recommendations from each group. Children received their school supplies from members of the Dearborn School Board, the Detroit Police Department and the FBI.
“Giving students the tools they need to start the school year also means providing information on how to eat right,” said Marci Mahssney, LAHC Healthy Living program manager.
Parents and children reconnected with close friends from school over grilled hamburgers and hot dogs prepared by Dearborn School Board Trustee Hussein Berry. Entertainment was plentiful as children slid down inflatable slides, leapt in a bouncy castle, and took group shots in the photo booth.
Several educational resources were also available for students such as MathNoggin, a math tutoring business, and Unity Counseling Clinic, a mental health center.
LAHC already had given away 250 backpacks at Hamilton Academy in Detroit and expects to provide 1,200 more for the next year. They have kickstarted several initiatives in areas of grant donations, career building, and public health. Many children have received financial aid to pursue a college degree through the organization, as well as clothes and meals throughout the school year. LAHC also leads substance abuse prevention programs.
LAHC Senior Executive Director Wassim Mahfouz said all of these endeavors contribute to a student’s development in education.
“The reason we host this event is to encourage students to keep pursuing education and kick off the school year with passion,” Mahfouz said. “It’s our way to show off our support with families.”
Parents who are interested in getting involved in LAHC may contact Mahfouz at [email protected] or at 313-960-4007.