A chance to save money, get physically fit and provide a school backpack for needy schoolchildren sounds like a winning recipe, doesn’t it? The folks at the Arlington YMCA think so, and they are launching a promotion during August that offers all three ingredients.Working with the Arlington school district, the Y hopes to donate at least 500 backpacks to underprivileged students via a program that begins Thursday and is called “The Boss Loves School: Help A Kid, Buy A Backpack, Waive the Fee.” Here’s how it works: Go to any of the three YMCA family centers and purchase a Y backpack for $20. In exchange, you can join the Y without having to pay the $75 membership fee. The backpack will be donated to an Arlington student. This is a win-win, since it represents a $55 savings when joining the Y and simultaneously helps kids in need. A YMCA spokeswoman said 68 percent of students in the Arlington district participate in the federal free and reduced lunch program, and many of these students will be the focus of the backpack drive.“Here’s the perfect opportunity to help a child and serve the community while doing something for yourself and your family. The Y focuses on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. This August promotion is part of that focus. And, with your membership this August, you can help make a change in the community,” Roberto Aguirre, president and CEO of the YMCA of Arlington, said in a statement.A “Back to School Bash” open house Aug. 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the three YMCA of Arlington family centers will offer activities for kids and families. The school-themed events will have free food, games and other fun activities. Afterward, enjoy a free swim at the outdoor pool at the central branch at 2200 S. Davis Drive and the indoor pool at the Cooper Street branch at 7120 S. Cooper St. from 1 to 3 p.m. Families can register for Y program and visit vendors ready to help with back-to-school needs.“We will also have boxes available at each YMCA family center for members or the public to bring in schools supplies that will be donated, along with the backpacks, to the AISD,” said Y spokeswoman Pamela Webb. Learn more at www.ymca-arlington.org or call Webb at 817-299-9629, ext. 11.Photo contestWith summer winding down and vacations wrapping up, now might be a good time to think of fun things to do locally. If you enjoy photography, then the photo contest hosted by the Mansfield News-Mirror may be just the ticket for a fun summer activity.The “My Mansfield Photo Contest” invites amateurs along with professional photographers to demonstrate via photos “how you see Mansfield — whether it's children playing in the park, a historic site, a special sunset or interesting angle.”Winners will be selected each week, and their shots will be in the News-Mirror. They’ll also get a gift certificates from a local business. A special photo exhibit at the end of summer will feature all the winners, and as many shots as possible will be on the paper’s Facebook page.Find out more, including the rules, at bit.ly/19rM6xk.The contest ends Aug. 23. Contact Amanda Rogers at 817-473-4451 or firstname.lastname@example.org.School luncheonGet the latest information about programs, initiatives and events planned for the coming school year at a luncheon Aug. 12 hosted by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.Guests at the event will hear Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos and trustees present an update on the district and the progress of the “Achieve Today. Excel Tomorrow” strategic plan implemented last year.The event is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Mac Bernd Professional Development Center, 1111 W. Arbrook Blvd. Tickets are $30 for chamber members and $40 for nonmembers. Tickets are $15 for school district employees. Register at www.arlingtontx.com or call the chamber at 817-275-2613.
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