Yes, summer is almost over. Soon, school buses around the state will be filled with students on their way to class.
In Mansfield they aren't waiting to fill a bus. As part of the second annual Back to School Bash on Saturday (Aug. 12), the Mansfield School District will hold its Stuff the Bus Campaign.
The Back to School Bash is a community-wide event designed to bring people together for a day of family fun and services. It includes activities and games, student health services and more - and it's free.
There will even be food trucks available on site as the event takes place from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at MISD Center for the Performing Arts, 1110 W. Debbie Ln.
And Stuff the Bus is among the highlights. Though they won't actually be on a bus (a name derived from coordinator Donald Williams' previous school district in Bastrop), there will be plenty of supplies for students as they prepare to return to school.
"We are ensuring our students are set up for success by providing them with school supplies," said Williams, the associate superintendent of communications and marketing. "None of this would have been possible without the help of our dedicated community members, organizations, businesses, and staff members who have worked together to put students first.”
The Stuff the Bus Campaign is made possible through various sponsorships, donations and district-wide community nights. Up to 6,000 backpacks will be given out to families on a first-come, first-served basis at Ben Barber Innovation Academy (across the parking lot from the MISD Center for the Performing Arts).
There is still time to help with the cause by becoming a sponsor or making a donation. Anyone can donate to the cause. It’s a community event, so the entire community is encouraged to participate.
No registration is required, but families will have to fill out a card to verify their information before receiving a backpack. There will be a limit of four backpacks per family.
"Our Back to School Bash another of the fun things that I am blessed to be a part of," said MISD Board President Raul Gonzalez. "The communities of Mansfield, Arlington, Grand Prairie and others work together to help students in need. Even families who don't qualify financially as 'in need' could often use a little help, particularly if they have several children.
"The Stuff the Bus part of the event is particularly beneficial to families, as school supplies are a large expense at the beginning of the year when family finances are often stretched. No family is turned away and no registration is needed.
"The Back to School Bash is the kick off to another great school year for MISD and helps families get off to a great start with lots of fun from a caring community."
Other services available at the Back to School Bash include sports physicals, immunizations, eye exams and glasses, haircuts, dental sealants and other health resources. Parents and guardians are asked to bring their child's dental records to take part in the free immunizations, and shots are for uninsured patients only.
Vendor booths and community businesses will have the chance to provide relevant services, products and information to attendees.
Fun activities will include bounce houses and obstacle courses. Student performances will be in the Performing Arts Center.
Parents and guardians will also have the opportunity to meet with folks from the campuses they will be attending.
"The Back-to-School Bash is a way for Mansfield ISD to give back to our great community," Williams said. "It is truly an event for everyone."
Local organizations, such as the Boy Scouts, also hold school supply drives and donate them to the MISD for the event. The district uses those extra supplies for those who may have missed out on the Back-to-School Bash and to help supply items for MISD’s PTA Clothes Closet, which provides clothing and school supplies free of charge to Mansfield ISD students.
Due to the construction near the entrance of the Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts, MISD will be offering free shuttle service to and from the Back-to-School Bash. The shuttle will leave the tennis courts of Legacy High School and Summit High School, running from 6:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Because of limited parking at the center, using the shuttle is encouraged.