Friday, August 3, 2012

Back-To-School Fair gets huge community boost before Saturday

Thanks to a huge shot in the arm from a caring public, the 11th Annual Wyandotte County Back-to-School Fair is a go at Kansas City Kansas Community College Saturday, Aug. 4.

Open to Wyandotte County students with proof of residency, the Fair featuring free back packs, sports physicals, immunizations, haircuts and smoke detectors will be held from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday on the KCKCC campus at 7250 State Avenue.

With the Back-to-School Fair in jeopardy because of the late withdrawal of a major sponsor, community members stepped forward to assure not only would the $25,000 goal be reached but exceeded it by nearly $5,000.

In addition, more than 100 KCKCC employees and community members have volunteered for the Saturday’s Fair.

“They (community members) did an amazing job because we started with zero dollars,” praised Andrica Wilcoxen of the Wyandotte County Regional Prevention Center and a Fair committee member. “It just shows the belief the community has in education. Contributions didn’t just come from Wyandotte County, we received donations from Johnson County and the Kansas City, Mo. area.

“One man came into the office and gave us a check for $2,500; another $1,000 but there were also a lot of smaller donations that really added up. We also had businesses and organizations giving us school supplies. The KCKCC honors program had a project to donate school supplies; Miss Kansas Pre-Teen contributed and one family filled a whole table with supplies.”

Connect the Dottes Community Coalition, Tri-County Smart Starts, the University of Kansas Hospital and KCKCC also came forward as major sponsors.

“Connect the Dottes said it would match anyone giving $5,000 and Tri-County Smart Starts stepped forward and donated $5,000 while KCKCC has committed considerable resources ensuring the success of the Fair,” said Wilcoxen.

Another $3,000 came from the University of Kansas Hospital.

Upwards of 50 KCKCC students, staff, faculty and administrators and community members spent several hours filling 4,100 back packs that will be distributed Saturday.

Volunteers have prepared 600 back packs for kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students, 2,000 elementary and 1,500 middle and high school students.  Contents include spiral notebooks, notebook paper, pencils, colored pencils and pencil boxes, pens, glue, crayons, glue sticks and markers.

Tony Coleman, a supervisor at BPU who helped coordinate the purchase, counting, packing, delivery and distribution of the supplies, said 12 pallets were required to deliver  49,600 school items.

In addition to the back packs, students will have the opportunity to receive free immunizations and sports physicals; haircuts will be given by Glen Walters and KCKCC-TEC students in the Performing Arts Center; and free smoke detectors will be provided by the Red Cross; Ident-a-Kid kits will be given out and free notary services and voter registration will be available without charge.

Even lunch will be provided courtesy of USD 500 Nutritional Services.

“We’re excited that the Turner School District is joining all the USD 500 schools as exhibitors,” said Wilcoxen. “In all, we’ll have 70 exhibitors providing services and resources.”

Entertainment will be provided by KPRS and the Disney Channel.

This is the second year KCKCC has hosted the Fair. “A reflection of the commitment of the College’s administration, faculty and staff to serve families and the community,” said Wilcoxen. The Fair previously had been held at Indian Springs and the Armory.


PHOTO: Back packs, more than 4,000, will be distributed at KCKCC Saturday as part of the Wyandotte County Back-to-School Fair which will also include free immunizations, sports physicals, haircuts, Ident-a-Kid kits and smoke detectors. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)