Beyond the Backpack Community Event Helps Families Prepare for Start of School

Bounce houses, Bubble Bus, and fire trucks provides activities for children at the 24:1 Beyond the Backpack event. The year’s event will be held 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday August 5 at Normandy High School.

Beyond Housing and its community partners are making the final preparations for this year’s Beyond the Backpack community back-to-school event. The community celebration is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday August 5 at Normandy High School, 6701 St. Charles Rock Road.

Dr. Charles Pearson, Superintendent of Schools for the Normandy Schools Collaborative, borrows a term from a popular disc jockey when describing the annual affair.

“It’s a party with a purpose! What an amazing way to start the school year,” Dr. Pearson said. “Hats off to Beyond Housing, the city officials and all of our supporters. This is the type of collaboration that will help us reach our goal of high academic achievement — operational excellence fueled by community engagement.”

The atmosphere for Beyond the Backpack has had a party element to it. Organizers are planning for two bounce houses, Bubble Bus, free food, and a DJ for live music.

The purpose however is to provide families an opportunity to prepare students for the coming school year. Inside the high school will be free services including hearing screenings provided by Parents as Teachers, and immunizations courtesy of the Visiting Nurses Association. Affinia Healthcare will also provide dental exams, and Eye Care Charity of Mid-America will provide vision exams and glasses onsite. Local barbers will provide free haircuts, and lunch will be provided for participants.

Teachers and administrators from Normandy schools will also be on-hand to provide parent information, school uniforms, and other materials. This year, Normandy High School will host an Open House to introduce the new principals and other teachers and staff to students and families.

And of course, Beyond Housing will distribute more than 2,000 backpacks to any student residing in the Normandy Schools Collaborative footprint.

The sidewalks surrounding the school’s courtyard will be lined up with more than 50 vendors including Midwest BankCentre, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, Parents as Teachers, and BJC Healthcare.

“Our staff works so hard to make this year’s event a great one and I am so appreciative of their efforts to put together a first class event,” said Chris Krehmeyer, President & CEO of Beyond Housing. “Helping families prepare for the first day of school sets the tone for the rest of the year. With the support of our community and corporate partners, we hope we are able to help make that happen.”

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