Mayor Mike Rawlings hosted the 16th Annual Mayor’s Back to School Fair at Fair Park in Dallas on Thursday.
Low-income families who qualify can get a grade-appropriate kit filled with school supplies. Kids can also get a free haircut, health check-up, and dental and vision screenings, as well as the right tools for the upcoming school year.
“It’s one of the most important things I can do as Mayor, to support our children for the next generation,” says Rawlings. “These kids are going to remember this event.”
Mayor Rawlings cut loose for the kickoff and showed off his dancing skills doing “The Shuffle”.
The annual event is funded through private donations and not tax payer dollars and is for kids who live in Dallas or are in the Dallas Independent School District. Parents need to bring an identification, proof of residency and proof of income.
New Superintendent Mike Miles hopes parents see that the fair is just the first step to help the kids succeed this school year.
“We want to remind the parents too, there are three things we need them to do: get their kids to school and on time, get their kids to do their homework, read every day,” said Miles.
The superintendent said parents can do their part, while he’s setting goals for the district to improve its grade.
“We’re going to get a strong effective teacher in every classroom and a strong principal in every school. Back to school is an exciting time. It’s always been,” Miles said.
Great grandmother Peggy Morka arrived at 3:45 a.m. to be the first in line. “It helps me," said Morka. "I’m a great grandma raising four kids. Sometimes I don’t have all the money I need, so this helps me a lot."
“I’m just excited to get school supplies," said Angelica Salas, a 7th grade student. "I don’t want my mom wasting money. She’s happy it’s free."
Salas' mother, Ambrosia Ramirez, has attended the event for five years.
“To help out, with the economy as bad as it is, we can all use a little bit of help,” said Ramirez.
It’s going to be hot outside for families waiting in line. Parents are urged to bring water. The city also has tents set up, a hydrating station, and Fire Rescue Crews are on hand in case of an emergency.
Last year the event helped 15,000 students with supply kits.
The first day of school for Dallas students is August 27.