The Madison County Prevention Coalition and its partners, under the umbrella of Health Promotion Program Initiative (HPPI), have committed to hosting a countywide “Back to School Explosion” to kick off the 2014–15 school year. This event will be held at the North Florida Community College Fitness Center and surrounding grounds on Saturday, Aug. 9, beginning at 10 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m. Sponsored by a long list of community partners, the “Back to School Explosion” is designed to reach students, parents, guardians, teachers, and citizens in an atmosphere focused on preparation for the new school year. Establishing a student mindset of success and achievement is a top priority for the Coalition, so in addition to free school supplies, the event also provides information about health related resources, educational opportunities and advancements, as well as other services designed to get the school year started off in a positive fashion.
The Coalition is working hard to secure enough donations to provide free school supplies to all students from pre-Kindergarten through high school; Superintendent Doug Brown and his staff provided lists of basic supplies for students at all levels. Hosting such an event is an uphill climb, but everyone is excited and expects the event to produce the success of previous years. The Coalition has enlisted partnerships with organizations, businesses, county and city officials, churches and citizens, to join this effort that all students in the Madison County School District. This is our community’s special way of showing that we care.
The Madison County Department of Health will have the Whole Child Express mobile unit on site to provide information to parents and assist students in meeting school health requirements. The health department will also be open during the event to administer immunizations to students. Tobacco Free Madison and Students Working against Tobacco (SWAT) will promote the policy to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products not covered by the FDA by conducting a skit during the assembly and an informational booth during the event. The Abstinence Program staff will be able to address the parents and students during the program, and will have a booth set up to provide additional information and answer questions. Flyers from each of the programs will also be inside the backpacks that will be distributed.
Superintendent Doug Brown, principals from all schools, along with other faculty and staff will be on site to greet parents and students. A variety of other information booths, social service providers, businesses and agencies will also be present and accessible to meet the needs of parents and students. Additionally, Aug. 1st – 3rd is the Florida tax-free weekend for school-related items. So even through the Madison County event will provide free school supplies, parents are encouraged to take advantage of the savings of this weekend for other school items, such as school clothing.
The Madison County Prevention Coalition established an account for monetary donations, with the Madison County Chamber of Commerce acting as the central collection agency for all donations. Many generous individuals and groups made donations and the Chamber maintained a list of all the donors, who will be thanked in a press release wrap-up following the event. the cut-off date for donations was July 31st, in order to allow time to purchase and pre-order the extensive list of school supplies.
Volunteers are still welcome, however, for what will be several busy days leading up to the event day.
The Madison County School District has agreed to provide bus transportation to and from the event from Greenville, Pinetta, and Lee, for students only. Because of the liability, parents and guardians are not permitted to ride on transportation provided by the Madison County School District. The pick-up points, times, and locations are as follows:
• The pick-up point for Lee students will be the Old Lee Elementary School beginning at 8 a.m. and returning at 2 p.m.
• The pick-up point for Greenville students will be Greenville Elementary School beginning at 8 a.m. and returning at 2 p.m.
• The pick-point for Pinetta students will be Pinetta Elementary School beginning at 8:00 AM, followed by a pick-up point at the Cherry Lake crossroads at 8:30 a.m. with return times at 2 p.m.
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