By: Michael Campbell, News Editor
2:19 p.m. | August 17, 2017
PRINCE GEORGE – The start of a new school year is only one calendar turn away as students are scheduled to return to the classroom on September 5 following the Labor Day weekend. Before they do, an annual county event seeks to help local students get off on the right foot.
Prince George’s sixth annual Back-to-School Fair will be held at Scott Park at 6680 Courthouse Road from on Thursday, August 24 from 4 pm. to 7 p.m.
As in year’s past, the fair will be open to all Prince George County school-aged children and their families and will feature plenty of activities and family-friendly festivities ahead of the start of school.
This year’s event will also see students receiving backpacks full of supplies thanks to generous donations from the community who gave new supplies and provided monetary donations to allow for those items to be bought and provided to students. Prince George Director of Social Service Shel Bolyard-Douglas noted that the students will need to be present at the fair to receive their school supplies.
Last year, volunteers helped distribute over 1,000 backpacks to county children, with Prince George Police estimating over 3,000 people attended the event that included local emergency vehicles and a school bus for children to explore, animal adoption services, free hot dogs, bottled water, and popcorn.
A similar turnout is expected this Thursday at Scott Park this year’s event.
Douglas said that officials with Prince George Public Schools will be on hand Thursday with providing information to parents and families about student services, nutritional services, and details about transportation and to answer questions they may have.
“We will also have one of our newest school buses on hand for our kindergarteners and their families to explore before it arrives on the first day of school,” Douglas detailed.
In addition to the Back-to-School fair, a community resource fair will be held at the same time, where dozens of community organizations will be on hand providing more items for attendees, including school supplies and other items, along with information and ways to connect with them after the fair wraps up.
“We currently have 43 partners registered for the resource fair,” Douglas said.
The county’s animal services will be on hand providing pet adoptions, along with fire trucks and emergency vehicles for the county’s youngest residents to explore.
“We have received support from BBQ Bliss, private citizens, and several Prince George churches, our Rotary Club, our Women’s Club, the Prince George-Hopewell Community Health Center, and a grant from the Jessica Ann Moore Foundation,” Douglas shared.
A packing night will be held on Monday, August 21 where students who may need community service hours or volunteers who just want to help fill backpacks for the Thursday event can come out and do just that.
Following Douglas’ presentation to the Board this month, Chairman Bill Robertson praised Prince George Social Services’ staff and the community for coming together for the event and spoke to the growing popularity of the Back-to-School Fair in Prince George County, which has become almost an unofficial kickoff of the back-to-school season in the county.
“They line up outside quite a long ways before it gets started at 4 p.m.,” Robertson remarked. “Looks like it gets earlier and earlier every year.”
Douglas said some people line up around lunchtime to be able to take part in the event in year’s past.
For more information on the Back-to-School Fair and other services offered by the department, visit the county’s website at http://princegeorgeva.org or call their offices at 804-733-2650 or Tina Dixon at 804-862-5262.
Donations will be accepted through Friday, August 18 at various locations throughout the county including the Prince George School Board office and the Social Services’ office at the Human Services Building. They are looking for items including:
- Pocket folders
- No 2 Pencils
- Pencil Sharpeners
- Glue Sticks
- School or Elmer’s Glue
- Crayons 24 ct
- Colored Pencils 12 ct
- Sharpie Fine Marker
- Blunt 5” scissors
- Fluorescent Highlighter
- Pencil Box or Pouch
- Wide Rule Composition Book
- College Ruled Spiral Notebook
- Wide Rule Filler paper
- College Rule Filler Paper
- Wide Rule spiral notebook
- Red Ink pen
- Blue Ink Pen
- 5- Tab Index dividers
- Composition Books