Back to School Bash at Buckner

First grader Jacob Noel explores a backpack full of supplies

Thursday, Aug. 20, the folks at Buckner Children’s Village threw one last hoorah before school resumes.

“Our annual Back to School Bash is a chance for our kids to have fun and get excited about the new year,” said Jessica Rhodes, Buckner ministry engagement coordinator for Southeast Texas. “It’s a great environment for them to unwind and get excited about school.”

About 75 guests, including Buckner foster children and their families, turned out for dinner, snacks, popcorn and lemonade, and then the evening turned to games, crafts more snacks and music – which included the “Cupid Shuffle” out on the dance floor.

In addition to celebrating the new school year, over 70 foster children received their school supplies and backpacks that same evening.

“It’s a blessing that with the help of our community we are able to encourage our children and clients in their education and give them the supplies needed to be successful,” said Rhodes. Flint Hills Resources and Southeast Texas Jeepers in conjunction with the dealership Mid-County Jeep held two separate school supply drives in order to provide the donations for Buckner.

“We filled 170 backpacks, and that was our goal. We were actually closer to 200, and that served all of our programs, our emergency shelter, our foster care kids, our STAR program, as well as our FYI program, which is for kids who have aged out of foster care that are going to college,” said Rhodes. “They got binders, composition notebooks, spiral notebooks, pens, paper – just kind of the essentials to get them through, so they can take lots of notes in their classes.”

The younger children also received all the necessary school supplies for their first day back, including crayons, colored pencils and construction paper.

“We were really blessed to even get Kleenex, rolls of paper towels and Ziplock bags, the more random items that are on school lists nowadays,” Rhodes said. “That really helps our foster parents and allows them to pour more into new clothes, new shoes, and they’re able to do a lot more.”

Rhodes also added that the kids really appreciate the school supplies, as well.

“The kids love it; a lot of them just never had all the school supplies they needed for the first day of school, and that builds a lot of insecurity and anxiety over going back to school,” said Rhodes. “So we try to say, ‘Hey, we believe education is important, and we’re going to show you that by providing you with your school supplies to help take that insecurity away and help you adjust to school better.’”

Buckner has been serving vulnerable children and families in Southeast Texas since 1970. Last year, Buckner served more than 1,800 individuals through community foster care, foster group homes at Buckner Children’s Village, the assessment center/emergency shelter, adoption services, TRAIL (Transitioning to Responsible Adult Independent Living), STAR (Services to At Risk Youth), and the FYI Center: Fostering Youth Independence.

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