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Two satisfied customers show off their new backpacks!

The 2010 Back to School Bash offered a magnificent, fun, inspiring and memorable day for all who attended this year’s event on August 14th. This year’s celebration combined old and new, same and different. We began at the original location, Faith Tabernacle Oasis of Love International Church at 8009 Rogers Road in the morning, and continued with food and festivities at the brand new Rogers-Eubanks Community Center, deep in the heart of the historic Rogers Road neighborhood. Included were all the original activities, from inspiring speeches and presentations to distribution to school children of hundreds of beautiful new backpacks filled with school supplies, to a delicious feast for one and all. New activities were added to the program, making it an even richer experience for all ages.

Highlights included presentations by Minister Robert Campbell of RENA/CEER; Principal Amy Rickard of Morris Grove Elementary School; and Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies who serve as School Resource Officers, among other speakers. Kids also took part in the Trivia Challenge, and local youth were honored with presentation of the Camellia Lee Awards Community Service Awards for Youth in Action.

The morning events at Faith Tabernacle concluded with a fantastic demonstration by the faculty and students of Kim’s White Tiger Taekwondo, followed by a taekwondo instructional workshop in which Rogers Road’s young folks got to try out some moves under the instructions of members of the taekwondo troupe. The Back to School Bash then moved across Rogers Road and down Purefoy Street to the beautiful new community center which is now home to RENA/CEER. Under tents and grand old shade trees, community members cooked up the usual feast of hot dogs and hamburgers, with freshly made popcorn and snow-cones as extra treats.

The highlight was when each child received a fine, filled backpack for the upcoming school year :  450 backpacks, the highest number ever for this event. Additional activities included face painting, softball games, a pinata for smaller kids, a big colorful bouncey-house, and a voter-registration table. The good folks at Chapel Hill’s ” Recyclery” program came to the event for the first time this year, with five beautiful bikes and helmets to share. These bicycles were given away to lucky youngsters through a series of drawings, and check out those smiles!

So many children and families gathered together, uniting community elders, long-time residents, and newcomers, tiny babies, grannies, teens, and young adults. It was a day of connection and inspiration, dedicated to education and nurturing our great natural resource, the young ones who are so precious and have so much promise.  Generous donors of goods and financial support, coupled with dozens of volunteers were the secret ingredient of this fine day, working behind the scenes and out front, before, during and after the day itself.

Mr. David Caldwell of RENA/CEER masterminded the event’s logistical challenges, from setting up tents and training and managing volunteers to food and games. Savor these photographs which tell the story of a magnificent and worthwhile day, at RENA/CEER’s annual Back to School Bash for 2010. See you next year, second Saturday in August, for the 2011 RENA/CEER Back to School Bash.

Click here to see all of the photos!
(Many thanks to our staff photographer, Tracy Kuhlman)