Guy Burney was happy to see many youngsters taking home free book bags before they return to school, but the giveaway was about a lot more than free notebooks, pens and paper.
“We want young people to realize that the community is behind them,” said Burney, coordinator of the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence organization.
CIRV, which is a collaboration of social-service agencies, law enforcement and the community to reduce violence in the city, was on hand for Saturday’s Total Package Back-to-School Kick-Off and Book Bag Giveaway event at the Rayen Stadium, 250 Benita Ave., on the North Side.
The free, four-hour nondenominational gathering was to allow students in kindergarten through 12th grade to start the school year with free school supplies. The event also was to encourage and empower youngsters to achieve academic success, organizers said.
Hosting the gathering was the Youngstown City Schools, in partnership with CIRV, the city of Youngstown and NOW Youngstown, which is a faith-based organization that has outdoor events and other events in some of the city’s high-crime areas while bringing messages of peace and hope.
NOW Youngstown derives its name from 2 Corinthians 6:2, which talks about God’s ability to immediately save those who seek his help.
Early on, 687 youngsters were registered to receive the estimated 2,800 book bags that contained notebooks, pens and pencils, note tabs, glue sticks and other materials. Ten students at a time with vouchers received their bags.
... Read more in Sunday's Vindicator!