MASSENA — Families can get some help with back-to-school preparation during the Massena Central School District’s second Ready 4 School event, scheduled for 2 to 6 p.m. Aug. 26 at Massena Central High School.
Community partners will be assisting families by offering a number of services, such as free haircuts, school supplies and clothes for students; bicycle tune-ups, bicycle safety information and children’s bicycle helmets; and educational tables with information and resources from community partners such as the Massena Police Department, Horizons, Massena Public Library and others.
Massena Permanent Firefighters will be giving away winter coats, the police department will be giving away 250 donated bike helmets, the Massena Elks Lodge and United Steelworkers will be providing free hot dogs and hamburgers, and Horizons and the Boys and Girls Club of Massena will be offering outdoor games.
Several community partners took part in last year’s event, and Superintendent Patrick Brady said there are 45 community partners participating this year.
“We’re still collecting supplies and materials, so it’s difficult at this point to know how much we will have,” Mr. Brady said. “Massena is a very generous community. There have been many donations of money, supplies and time to help ensure that we have a successful event. This event shows that when given the opportunity for local businesses, organizations and individuals to provide support for a worthy event, particularly related to the education of children, they are fully ready to do so.”
He said the event provides a way for the district to reach out to families and make connections that would help later on when there might be issues related to their child’s education. It also helps ease some of the burden of clothing and supply costs.
“We want to ensure that every student has what they need to learn when they come on the first day of school. We don’t want anyone starting behind because they don’t have the basic tools for learning. That’s really the purpose of this event. What it has led to beyond that has been these great connections made with community partners and families. That’s been very nice to see,” Mr. Brady said.
He said the inaugural 2018 event was very successful, and this year looks to be better.
“This was a very successful event for us last year with over 1,000 people coming through the door to take part and receive books, school supplies, haircuts, bike helmets and more,” he said. “This is our second year. Each time we look at what worked and what we can improve on from the previous year.”
The event is organized by a committee headed by Kristin Colarusso-Martin, the district’s Community Schools coordinator.
“We didn’t know what to expect last year. This was our first time organizing the event. Kristin and her committee did an incredible job reaching out to the community. The work Kristin and her team are doing is really making a difference with families,” Mr. Brady said.
The success of last year’s event has led other school districts to offer their own similar events this year, he said.
“When they saw how successful it was in terms of participation and the connection we made with many families, I think other school districts in the region saw the value of this type of event,” he said.
Ms. Colarusso-Martin is still accepting any type of donations, according to the superintendent. She can be reached at the high school at 315-764-3710, ext. 3621, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two buses with a banner advertising the event are also out in the community, and supplies can be left there.
“They are both available for people to put supplies in,” Mr. Brady said.
He said individuals can also assist with the event by helping set up starting at 10 a.m. Aug. 23 at the high school.
“If anybody is interested in helping out with sorting clothes and supplies and just general preparation, we would appreciate that support as well,” he said.
The gist of it
n WHAT: The Massena Central School District is holding its second Ready 4 School event on Aug. 26
n WHERE: The event runs from 2 to 6 p.m. at Massena Central High School
n WHY: The event provides a number of services for students, such as free haircuts, school supplies and clothes; bicycle safety information and children’s bicycle helmets; and educational tables with information and resources