Yvette Alexander

D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7)

D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) and Thomas Robinson, a power forward for the Brooklyn Nets, handed out backpacks filled with school supplies at the Fort Davis Recreation Center on Aug. 22.

Alexander said that the annual event has two goals. “We want to bring the community together and give parents the resources so that their kids can have a good school year,” the council member said.

Alexander and Robinson’s  efforts, which have been taking place for four years, was supported by American Third Pillar Charities, a District-based non-profit whose mission is to meet the needs of the indigent in the area.

Abed Ayoub, the organization’s vice president, was happy to participate in the event. “It is important to give back to the community,” Ayoub said. “We know the challenges that many of the parents face and we want to alleviate that pressure.”

The backpacks were handed out by Third Pillar Charities staff and volunteers. The light blue backpacks were for elementary children and contained materials such as pencils, crayons, markers, three colored folders, two notebooks, glue, scissors, and a package of filler paper, and pens. The dark blue backpacks were for high-school students and contained everything that the elementary students had except crayons. The high school backpacks also included calculators and compasses.

Children had their hair cut or styled by barbers free of charge from the Like That Unisex Salon in Southeast. The barbers served the young people outside of the recreation center gym.

Event patrons were treated to a free lunch on the lower playground, with meatballs, fish, and chicken wings as the main course. Hotdogs and hamburgers were grilled and free to anyone while they lasted.

Robinson raffled 10 bicycles to boys and girls and several NBA tickets to families.  He also physically embraced the children and their parents, and was pictured in numerous selfies throughout the event.

Robinson grew up in the Fort Davis community and regularly played at the recreation center growing up. He was the fifth overall pick of the Sacramento Kings in the 2012 draft, and has played for the Houston Rockets, Portland Trailblazers, and the Philadelphia 76ers.

“Everything went well and it seemed to me that everyone was happy,” Robinson said. “It’s something I’m proud to do for my city every year. I’ll never forget where I come from and will continue to do what I can to help our future, the children.”