By James Wright, Special to the AFRO, jwright@afro.com

D.C. Council member Trayon White kicked off the efforts in his ward and throughout the District of Columbia to get students, parents, and the community ready for school.

White, a Democrats who represents Ward 8, held a “Back to School Bash” at Garfield Elementary School in Southeast on Aug. 4.

“In addition to giving out free book bags to the students, we have booths that deal with health disparities, the fact that the ward is a food desert, educational inequities, and economic empowerment,” White told the AFRO as he looked at the dozens of vendors and scores of people on Garfield’s playground.

Trayon White, who represents Ward 8 on the D.C. Council, held a back to school event at Garfield Elementary School in Southeast. (Courtesy Photo)

Vendors such as Martha’s Table and City First Bank talked about the programs they offer residents of the ward in addition to handing out trinkets and literature. Free haircuts were performed by Donovan Brown, a freelance barber who works with the non-profit, Open Arms Mentoring Group. “I am doing my part to help the community,” Brown told the AFRO as he cut a youngster’s hair.

In the table next to Brown’s, nails were being painted for girls. A few feet away, five tables had numerous book bags for the young people to choose and take away for no cost.The AFRO was told by a White staffer that more than 800 bags were given away.

There were moon bounces and a deejay playing the latest songs over the loud speaker, and hotdogs, potato chips, cookies and bottled waters were available for students.

The District’s public schools extended school programs beginsAug. 13 and the traditional opening takes place on Aug. 20. D.C. public charter schools start at various times, depending on the institution.

Ward 8 had other “Back to School” events such as Bellevue’s Sixth Annual Bash held Aug. 8 near the Bellevue branch of the District’s public library. The Anacostia Coordinating Council’s Health, Wellness and Back to School Festival will have their event on Aug. 18 at the Ferebee Hope Recreation Center.

Dawn Bedminster is the president of Garfield’s PTA and agreed with Edwards but had a concern.

“This is good for the neighborhood and the communities, but I wish that more families had turned out for this,” Bedminster told the AFRO. “We need to do more events like this in the school and the community.”

While White was aiding students in his ward, there have been published reports that he may soon be a student himself.

DCist, an online news publication, posted in its July 31 editions that White is set to be a student at the Regent University School of Law this fall. However, White told the AFRO he hasn’t made a final decision on whether he will attend that school, or any other.