Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

Eyes on Arlington: Upcoming back-to-school event to provide free services, supplies

Students and volunteers at the 2015 Arlington back-to-school expo.
Students and volunteers at the 2015 Arlington back-to-school expo. Courtesy photo

Thousands of Arlington students will head off to school this fall fully equipped with supplies and health checkups thanks to a host of community supporters who are sponsoring the second annual AISD Back to School Kickoff from 8 a.m. to noon Aug. 13 at AT&T Stadium.

Organizers expect to serve more than 12,000 students who qualify for the free or reduced-price meal program during the half-day event by providing them with a supply-filled backpack and free health services. Families can also visit the more than 100 resource booths that will be set up at the event.

The event is a collaboration between the Arlington school district and the Arlington NAACP, Junior League of Arlington, churches of Arlington, the Gene and Jerry Jones Family North Texas Youth Education Town and the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Arlington Youth Foundation.

“To see so many organizations and volunteers come together for the benefit of our students is truly heartwarming,” Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos said.

The west outdoor plaza and indoor platform of AT&T Stadium will be a lively place as exhibitors set up to assist families attending the kickoff. Attendees will be able to get immunizations, vision checks, eyeglasses fittings, health screenings and haircuts.

However, pre-registration for these services is required. Parents can sign their children up at www.aisd.net/kickoff. Those without access to a computer can sign up using a smartphone or go to their home campus or the public library.

A special treat will be appearances by the Dallas Cowboys mascot Rowdy, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and former players who will be on hand to visit throughout the morning.

A generous $50,000 grant from the Jones foundation along with the use of AT&T Stadium for the venue was instrumental in making this initiative possible.

“We are so excited to be hosting the AISD Back to School Kickoff at AT&T Stadium for the second year — now officially an annual event,” said Gene and Jerry Jones Family Arlington Youth Foundation board chair and Cowboys executive vice president Charlotte Jones Anderson. “With so many incredible partners coming together to help provide supplies and resources to thousands of Arlington children and families, there really is no better symbol of community, collaboration and teamwork. We’re very proud to be a part of it.”

Donations to help fund the event are gratefully accepted by Operation Excel, a faith-based initiative created to provide needed resources to underserved Arlington students. A donation of $20 provides one student with a backpack and the supplies he or she needs for a full school year. To help, visit operationexcel.org.

“I know that the backpacks, supplies and resources our students and their parents will receive at the event will help them start the school year on the right foot and that having confident students translates into a successful year,” Cavazos said.

Volunteers can sign up on the event website or contact district spokeswoman Leslie Johnston at 682-867-7342 or ljohnsto@aisd.net.

‘Calendar Girls’ opens Friday at Theatre Arlington as season ends

Theatre Arlington will conclude this season on a high note as it presents the humorous and heartwarming play Calendar Girls. The play opens Friday. Based on a true story, the story revolves around a group of British women who produce a calendar of nude photographs of themselves to raise money for leukemia research.

Director Brandi Andrade said in a news statement, “In this stage version of the story I wanted, rather than create an homage to the more widely-known film (made in 2003), to pay tribute to the way these daring women (quite literally) ‘stripped away the inessential’ — and, in the process, revealed the secrets to life: friendship, a sense of humor, and a tenacious — even outrageous — embrace of the light.”

A post-show reception with the cast and crew on opening night is sponsored by J.R. Bentley’s and Cooper Street Bakery. Performances will continue through Aug. 21 on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets for opening night are $25; it’s $23 for all other performances. Purchase online at www.TheatreArlington.org or call the box office at 817-275-7661.

Chorale auditions are Aug. 8

Calling all singers! If you enjoy choral singing and want to be considered for the 100-voice Arlington Master Chorale, then warm up your vocal chords for auditions set for 5 to 9 p.m. Aug. 8 at Arlington’s First Baptist Church.

“An audition piece is not required, but sight reading, tone matching, and other skills will be tested,” spokeswoman Teresa McUsic said.

The new season, which opens Oct. 6, will include four concerts of exciting and inspiring chorale music including an entire program of African-American spirituals in the fall, John Rutter’s Gloria with brass and organ at Christmas, Eric Whitacre’s electrifying Cloudburst in the spring and the Spring Fling: “The Magic of Disney.” Season tickets are available at www.ArlingtonMasterChorale.com.

To inquire about auditions, contact chorale director Randy Jordan at muzakmn@sbcglobal.net.

Mansfield Chamber of Commerce offers variety of services

Along with the outstanding reputation long established by the Mansfield Chamber of Commerce as it serves the local business community is the chamber’s Young Professionals Group.

For younger men and women looking for an effective way to make connections and advance professionally, the group aims “to engage and inspire through leadership development, social enrichment and community investment.”

Come check out the next meeting at 7:30 a.m. Thursday where the speaker will be Steve Hendon, an experienced businessman and certified professional coach. Contact chamber President Lori Williams at 817-473-0507 to inquire.

In other chamber news, have you checked out the new health channel recently launched by the chamber? The service seeks to provide a forum for the area’s healthcare providers to exchange information and discuss topics of mutual interest as well as to serve as a clearinghouse for health topics that affect the Mansfield business community.

“This channel will introduce chamber members to useful health information from community physicians on topics of interest, provide up-to-date news on our community, spotlight special events and leaders, and provide education resources and so much more,” said John Phillips, president of Mansfield Methodist Health Center.

Watch the videos recently posted at www.mansfieldchamber.org/healthcare-updates.

Please send your Eyes on Arlington news tips to freeder@star-telegram.com. Keep up with even more community news by liking our page on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SocialEyes.ST. Twitter: @FayeReeder

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