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Nearly 800 free backpacks distributed at Woodland Public Schools’ Back to School Bash 2018

Event was for students attending Woodland, Kalama and La Center school districts

WOODLAND — Woodland Public Schools employees and community member volunteers handed out free backpacks filled with school supplies to students from Woodland, Kalama, and La Center school districts at Woodland Public Schools’ second annual Back to School Bash on Sat., Aug. 18.

Woodland Public Schools staff and 175 volunteers gave out free backpacks filled with school supplies at this year’s Back to School Bash. Photo courtesy of Woodland Public Schools
Woodland Public Schools staff and 175 volunteers gave out free backpacks filled with school supplies at this year’s Back to School Bash. Photo courtesy of Woodland Public Schools

Leslie Mohlman, coordinator for Woodland Public Schools’ Family Community Resource Center (FCRC), organized the entire event including lining up donors and volunteers among the myriad of other details required for its ongoing success. “The event was fantastic – a complete success,” she said. “I think we were a little more organized this year, and we received so much support from our communities including all of our wonderful volunteers.”

Around 2,000 students, parents, guardians and community members attended this year’s Back to School Bash with 701 backpacks handed out at the event and another 66 given out the week following the bash from the FCRC located at Woodland Public Schools.

In addition to free backpacks filled with school supplies for all students, every attendee received a free dinner, could get a free haircut on-site, and were able to participate in a variety of board games and other activities including several bounce houses and raffles. Nearly 175 community members volunteered to help manage the wide variety of activities and events.

Attendees at the Woodland Back to School Bash could also receive free haircuts and access other services at the event. Photo courtesy of Woodland Public Schools
Attendees at the Woodland Back to School Bash could also receive free haircuts and access other services at the event. Photo courtesy of Woodland Public Schools

Local area organizations and businesses who donated funds and supplies for the event included:

  • Assembly of God Church
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  • Clover Valley Community Church
  • Grace Community Church
  • iQ Credit Union
  • Molina Health Care
  • Portco
  • Promise Church
  • USNR
  • Wal-Mart
  • Woodland Presbyterian Church

The key to the event’s success lies in teamwork and collaboration. “Every church involved worked as a team to ensure students were ready for the new school year,” Mohlman explained. “These partnerships help chip away at the non-academic barriers to learning, and also support the healthy development of students and their families.”

Representatives from 24 nonprofit organizations and educational institutions helped attendees find assistance locating housing, finding employment, securing medical services, and even distribute free bike helmets to ensure student safety while riding bicycles.

Representatives from local nonprofits helped attendees find the services and assistance they need. Photo courtesy of Woodland Public Schools
Representatives from local nonprofits helped attendees find the services and assistance they need. Photo courtesy of Woodland Public Schools

Organizations attending this year’s Back to School Bash included:

  • Clark College
  • Columbia Wellness
  • Community Health Plan of Washington
  • Core Health
  • EOCF Preschool
  • ESD 112 Preschool Program
  • Express Employment
  • Family Health Clinic
  • Kinship Navigator Program
  • KWRL School Bus Cooperative
  • Love Overwhelming
  • Lower Columbia College
  • Molina Healthcare
  • PeaceHealth’s Bike Helmet Program
  • Woodland Co-Op Preschool
  • Worksource
  • Youth and Family Link

Mohlman encourages any community member interested in giving back to volunteer to help out. “The Back to School Bash is an opportunity to have a powerful impact by investing your time to ensure students have the tools they need to succeed,” she said. “It’s a fun three-hour event, but it takes all of our communities’ support to make events like them a true success like this one; I am so grateful for the support we receive from Woodland, La Center, and Kalama’s many generous organizations and community members.”

The Miss Teen La Center Court volunteered to do their part at the bash, too. Sara Baldwin, a sophomore at La Center High School and this year’s queen, volunteered at the first Back to School Bash in 2017, too. “I’m always looking for ways to help out in the community by volunteering for my church, and I love the Back to School Bash,” she said. “It’s so much fun seeing all the kids play and enjoy themselves.”

 

The Miss Teen La Center Court volunteered at the Woodland Back to School Bash (pictured from left: Danielle Gawronski, Sara Baldwin, and Keira Crocker). Photo courtesy of Woodland Public Schools
The Miss Teen La Center Court volunteered at the Woodland Back to School Bash (pictured from left: Danielle Gawronski, Sara Baldwin, and Keira Crocker). Photo courtesy of Woodland Public Schools

 

The Woodland Public Schools Family Community Resource Center (FCRC) provides resources and services to students and their families in need who live in either Cowlitz or Clark counties.

To find more information about services offered by the FCRC or to find ways you can support the FCRC, you can visit the Woodland Public Schools website at www.woodlandschools.org or use the short-link https://goo.gl/medfxJ, email Leslie Mohlman at [email protected], or call the FCRC at (360) 841-2718.

Information provided by Woodland Public Schools.

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