At the second annual Back to School Fair, under-resourced students received services including dental exams, haircuts, new books, school uniform elements, and brand new school supplies and backpacks.
From backpacks to books, and school supplies to shampoo, the Club Level of FedExField was transformed on Saturday, August 13 for the second annual Back to School Fair presented by the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and Catholic Charities. The event provided more than 500 local youth with everything they needed to head back to school feeling prepared.
At the second annual Back to School Fair, under resourced students received services including dental exams, haircuts, new books, school uniform elements, and brand new school supplies and backpacks.
Approximately 35 organizations were onsite, to share information about their services and programs and provide students with items to help prepare them for school. Participating organizations included groups such as Barnes & Noble, Hair Cuttery, Team Smile and Macy*s.
"We're thrilled to be able to open up FedExField to our community and make sure that children have a fresh start [to the school year]," said Jane Rodgers, Executive Director of the Redskins Charitable Foundation. "This event provides children with everything they need to head back to school ready for learning including dental services, immunizations and a haircut."
Redskins alumni Ravin Caldwell, Dion Foxx, Darnerien McCants and Tommy McVean were on hand to assist students in finding the perfect backpack for the school year, as well as a box filled with school supplies.
"As an educator now, I know what it's like to be a teacher in an inner city school when kids come and they aren't prepared for class," said Foxx, who currently teaches in Richmond Public Schools. "They don't have pencils, pens, notebooks… hopefully [this event] will be able to create new habits for the continuation of their scholastic and collegiate career, and help them become better students."
Other Redskins guests in attendance included Redskins Cheerleader Ambassadors Jeanette, Dreux, Katie, Joanne, as well as several wives of Redskins players and coaches.
Hair Cuttery stylists then helped students leave feeling confident with newly trimmed cuts. Needed health services like dental appointments from TeamSmile, and immunizations from the Children's National Health System's Mobile Health Program were available, ensuring students could enter the new school year with a fresh smile, or as Foxx called them, 'Kool-Aid Smiles'.
"You know, where kids are just grinning from ear to ear," Foxx laughed. "The atmosphere was a positive one, kids were having a good time and I saw a lot of happy faces from kids who were excited to get school supplies, haircuts. I was happy to be a part of it, and contribute in anyway."
The Back to School Fair provided creative outlets for students to experience different arts and cultural activities as well. Local non-profit Artivate, Inc. hosted a variety of classes for students, including African drumming and an Olympic themed craft project.
The Capital Hill Arts Workshop storefront showed students how to make crafts out of materials they could find in their own homes.
Around the corner you could find services from Mary's Center, which provided volunteers at the TeamSmile dental area, translators for Spanish-speaking families, as well as some healthy snacks.
"Our nutritionist was able to have some great conversations with parents around healthy eating," said Nina Golding, Director of Development for Mary's Center.
"The community that was served at this event doesn't always feel like they are special, or noticed. But here, there was an overall feeling from the families that they were special," Golding said. "This showed the kids that they mattered, that they were being seen, and that was the most significant impact of the event."