Eyes on Arlington: Junior League of Arlington holds annual Back-to-School Fair

Posted Monday, Aug. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Back-to-school is a whole lot cooler with a smart new backpack and a batch of shiny new supplies, and the members of the Junior League of Arlington made sure that students from four local schools have plenty of the cool factor for next week’s school start.

The sixth edition of the Back-to-School Fair last Saturday at the Junior League headquarters welcomed families from Bebensee, Beckham, Corey and Miller elementary schools. The fair serves different schools each year so that eventually the rotation will serve all schools in need within the Arlington district.

In charge of the event was league member Theresa Austin with a big assist from committee members Nikkee Espree, Rocky Jones, Lisa LoPiccolo, Sylvia Nichols and Leslie Williams. They were ready and waiting to greet the students and their families as they arrived on school buses from their home campus.

Parents spent the morning visiting various exhibits to explore options for after-school care and learn about sports and athletic programs. They also discovered the types of mentoring and tutoring programs available to help enhance their child’s educational experience.

Representatives for the Children’s Health Insurance Program were on hand to answer questions and provide information. At the library booth, the whole family could get a library card and learn about services offered.

Kids want their hair to look fabulous on the first day of school, and the stylists from Paul Mitchell were busy doing haircuts so kids could check that off their to-do list.

On the health front, free dental and vision screenings were a popular stop as folks made their way through the booths. Free glasses were made on site with the child’s choice of frames.

Kids were entertained with storytelling by the Arlington Public Library, and they also had fun exploring the fire engine that the Fire Department brought to the event. Impressive demonstrations of various martial arts techniques by Erik Farfan’s tae kwon do studio were crowd pleasers, too.

The event is a community impact project of the Junior League. “Putting on this fair is so rewarding,” said committee member Leslie Williams. “I decided to work on it for a second year because the looks on the kids’ faces is priceless…it’s like Christmas in August for them.” To learn more, check out www.jlarlington.org .

Share your passion for art — be a docent

Do you love art? Do you love to teach? If the answer is yes, perhaps you are ready to become an art docent in the Arlington school district. Recruitment for new docents is now underway by the Arlington Arts League, according to league member Jim Evans, who is in charge of the program.

Volunteer docents in the long-standing program assist with art education of Arlington students in fifth and sixth grades by teaching a monthly session at elementary schools about the art and history of a particular artist.

To prepare, docents will attend seven one-hour training sessions during the year on the first Tuesday of each month at the Arlington Museum of Art. The first session is set for Sept. 3. Docents can begin teaching immediately after their first training session.

Victoria Comstock from the Arlington school district art department is the trainer and provides the volunteer docents with the tools to enable them to lead students in discussions about the artistic composition of a masterpiece, history about the artist's life, and how to observe the painting in historical context.

Docents’ presentations to fifth-grade students are about such famous artists as Winslow Homer, Thomas Cole, Andrew Wyeth, Horace Pippin, Frederic Remington and others.

Sixth-graders are educated about European greats including Leonardo da Vinci, Diego Rivera, Rembrandt Van Rijn, Paul Cezanne, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and more.

“We feel that what we share with our school kids is of great value. They not only are introduced to great art but come to understand more about society and the world during the life of the artist,” said Evans.

The all-volunteer arts league’s mission is to promote the arts and art education in the community, and it operates the docent program in partnership with the school district’s art curriculum as part of the league’s community service outreach.

Docents may choose either grade or both grades.

“Some people think it is necessary for docents to be an artist, but that is not the case. The informative training sessions on pre-selected works of art and the artists’ lives fully prepares docents for their role,” said Evans, who has been a docent for 10 years.

Find out how to volunteer by sending an email to artsleague@arlingtonartsleague.com, or call 817-274-5790. Details at www.arlingtonartsleague.com.

Correction: Arlington Charities, 811 Secretary Drive, will interview families seeking assistance in getting school supplies today from 8 a.m. to noon and Thursday from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. While supplies are being distributed, the Tarrant Area Food Bank will have its mobile food truck on site to provide snack and lunch food for the kids. Monetary donations are needed. Call the office at 817-275-1511 with questions.

The dates were incorrect in last week’s column.

Send your Eyes on Arlington news to freeder@arlingtoncitizen-journal.com. Join our fan page at www.facebook.com/SocialEyes.ST. Follow me on Twitter @FayeReeder.

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