With one week left until the official start of school, the mayor’s office hosted their annual back-to-school rally, offering free school supplies to Baltimore city school students – helping families prepare for the 2013-14 school year.

During the four-hour event, hundreds of parents and kids gathered at the War Memorial Plaza, on Aug. 17. With dancing and live music as a background, those who needed them received free immunizations, courtesy of the Baltimore health department.

“This is great what the city does for the kids because we can’t afford all the supplies they need,” Gelenia Coleman told the AFRO.

Coleman, a northeast Baltimore resident said her daughter, Destine Davis, is entering into the 5th grade and said the event offers a great head start for the school year.

While filling out an application for the free breakfast and lunch program, Davis said she was “excited to go back to school.”

Participants in the rally were able to visit several on-site vendors and learn more about school safety, receive hands on CPR training, healthy eating tips and other school resources.

The backpacks, which were stuffed with pencils, notebooks, erasers, glue and binders were handed out by volunteers after families visited at least nine vendors, resulted in their “hall pass” punch card being completed.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake took the stage after several local performances and artist keep the attention of the crowd.

Rawlings-Blake thanked the several sponsors and partners who helped make the rally possible. “Let’s have the best school year,” Rawlings-Blake yelled to the crowd.

Interim School CEO Tisha Edwards thanked everyone for coming to kick off the new school year. She told families, “This is going to be an amazing year.”

Edwards also asked parents to commit to have their kids in school everyday.

The first day of school for Baltimore City students is Aug. 26.


Blair Adams

AFRO Staff Writer