Staff in our MCH Family Outreach offices in 13 communities across Texas and New Mexico assist families each year as they prepare to return to school. As part of these efforts, many offices participate in community events serving families in need of school supplies or other services. Below are a few examples of back-to-school activities and events where MCH Family Outreach showed support for our local families.
Abilene: On Aug. 17, Abilene Outreach participated in the Back-to-School Bash hosted by the Abilene Dream Center, a faith-based discipleship program that provides food, housing, education, and counseling completely free of charge. At the event, they distributed free school supplies to attendees. They also had food booths, games, door prizes, and community resource booths.
Albuquerque: This year, the Albuquerque office partnered once again with Help=Hope and collected backpacks stuffed with school supplies for all of the children served through their office.
Julia Burris, director of MCH Family Outreach in Albuquerque, said, “The volunteers at Help=Hope chose beautifully, and I believe many excited children and grateful caregivers will be the result of Help=Hope’s generosity. Several families have already been given backpacks, many with tears in their eyes, as providing school supplies has been an ongoing struggle for many of the families that we serve. New Mexico is, unfortunately, ranked nearly last in the country for education, due to many different factors. One factor, undeniably, is the poverty that so many of our families struggle with. How can children learn without the supplies they need? We are grateful here in Albuquerque for the generosity of agencies such as Help=Hope to help our children succeed, and are humbled to see the difference these efforts make.”
Bryan/College Station: This year the Bryan/College Station office kept stocked backpacks in their office for current and former clients in need of school supplies or for anyone sent to them for assistance. They also have a list of area churches and organizations that host their own back-to-school events to provide families with the best fit for their family size, ages and location.
Corpus Christi: Staff in the Corpus Christi office and several of their community partners were able to receive a livestream training from Texas Christian University on Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) and trauma-informed classrooms in early August. After the training, staff discussed how MCH can be a resource for continued trauma-informed care information and TBRI support to the community.
Dallas: On Aug. 4, the Dallas office held a Summer Splash party at the West Irving Aquatic Center for families they serve. About 60 clients and their families attended and were treated to pizza and cupcakes, as well as 50 bags full of school supplies and drinks. Dallas director Amanda Whatley said some of the clients had never been to a waterpark of any kind and were thrilled to be a part of it. She said several of her staff members traveled all over Dallas to transport clients who needed assistance with transportation to the event.
“The clients repeatedly thanked staff for the party and said how grateful they were to be able to experience it,” Whatley said. “No one left emptyhanded, whether it be with leftover pizza and cupcakes or extra schools supplies. The party was a huge success.”
Houston: The Houston Outreach office participated in several Back-to-School and community fairs in August. On Aug. 4, staff attended the BakerRipley Back-to-School Health Fair as well as Spring ISD’s annual Family and Community Resource Expo. On Aug. 9, they participated in the Gulf Coast Community Services Association Health and Wellness Fair, and the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable’s Back-to-School Basketball Bash on Aug. 11. Finally on Aug. 17, staff joined other community resources at the Houston ISD Back-to-School Extravaganza.
Killeen: On Aug. 5 Killeen staff participated in Grace United Methodist Church’s Back-to-School Buzz. MCH facilitated activities for children and shared about MCH services. Also, FUMC Killeen supplied 20 backpacks filled with school supplies for some of our KISD families. Killeen staff also participated in Harker Heights UMC Back-to-School Giveaway on Wednesday, Aug. 22 by hosting a game and sharing information about services.
Las Cruces: Las Cruces staff hosted a backpack drive for their MCH families. Each of the children served through their office received a backpack full of school supplies for the new school year.
“By providing the children with these tools we are helping them succeed in school,” said Michelle Perez, Las Cruces Outreach director. “A big thank you to our volunteers that helped to make this a memorable event for our families.”
Lubbock: The Lubbock office was involved with two back-to-school events. The first was the annual Back-to-School Bash hosted by The Lubbock Dream Center. MCH Family Outreach was a sponsor of the event and had a resource table available for participants to visit and learn about services that are provided to the community. More than 1,000 backpacks filled with school supplies were given to children at the event. Free haircuts and vouchers for school uniforms were also provided, as well as games, activities, door prizes and food.
MCH Family Outreach Back-to-School Bash is an annual event for Gap and Family Solutions clients. Families in attendance were given a pair of shoes for each school-aged child. A meal was served and activities were provided. Children and their caregivers made stress balls, calm-down bottles and participated in parachute games.
San Antonio: In July case managers hosted a family bingo event for families of the Prospera Housing Community Services which provides housing and support services for residents. They also partnered with the organization for a back-to-school potluck in August where children were provided with backpacks and school supplies. Residents were able to hear about services and meet with case managers during the events.
On July 21, San Antonio case managers attended the San Antonio Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Coalition’s first annual Picnic Day at San Pedro Springs. Approximately 150 people attended the event. On July 26 -27, MCH staff participated in the Annual Back-to-School event for grandparents raising their grandchildren hosted by Alamo Area Council of Governments. AACOG and other vendors provided vouchers for school clothes, backpacks and other school items for the grandchildren. MCH staff distributed around 150 bags containing school supplies such as notebooks, pencils, erasers, ruler, boxes of Kleenex, crayons, and other items for grandchildren. MCH staff provided the grandparents with information about the Gap Program and had several grandparents sign up for services.
On Aug. 14, MCH Family Outreach in San Antonio participated in the Coker United Methodist Church Backpack Give Away where 1,500 backpacks with school supplies were distributed to families in need. MCH Family Outreach distributed “Be You” pencils and watercolor bookmarks with inspiring words on them. Several participants signed up to receive additional information of services provided by MCH.
Tyler: The Tyler Outreach office participated in a back-to-school event held at Harvey Hall. MCH provided 300 bags of school supplies for the event. The Tyler Outreach office also participated in a back-to-school event in Athens where MCH provided 600 bottles of glue. Kristy George, director of MCH Family Outreach in Tyler, said, “Both events are a great help to the community for those in need of school supplies.”
Waco: On Aug. 14, Waco Outreach participated in Meet the Teacher night at Indian Springs Middle School to share information about programs.
Thank you to all organizations who partnered with us to support children headed back to school.