Irving—Skill and Faith Athletes (S&F Athletes) hosted their third annual Back to School Community Celebration at Senter Park Recreation Center on Saturday, July 31. Backpacks and school supplies were distributed to children during the event.
“This will be our third year putting on our S&F Back to School Community Celebration Backpack Give Away,” Richard Foster, founder and executive director of S&F Athletes, said. “We want to be able to go into the community and offer to give away backpacks that will help families once school starts.
“To a lot of these kids it is a big deal [to get a backpack], and there are more things you’re working with when you’re talking about the self-esteem of a kid than you think. When a kid walks into a school, they have a backpack on, they have their school supplies in it, that’s building their confidence. That’s building their self-esteem probably more than we can ever imagine. That’s the purpose of us putting this on.
“When we did this last year, we did it as more of a drive through. Families would drive up and pick up a backpack, but they wouldn’t be able to interact with other vendors like they are able to do now. We picked vendors to come out that offer a service that also will benefit families.”
Irving Police Chief Jeff Spivey and Mayor Rick Stopfer attended the event.
“Richard Foster, who runs the program, and I connected a few years ago,” Spivey said. “He reached out, wanting to establish a relationship between his organization and the police department and provide police officers as mentors to the young people he works with.”
“We’ve always supported any type of project that deals with backpacks and making sure the kids get what they need to get back to school,” Mayor Stopfer said. “There will be several of them held across the city over the next few weeks by the Chamber of Commerce and the nonprofits.”
The event was also sponsored by Modeltude Agency, based in Irving.
“[Modeltude reinforces]life skills for our youth and young adults,” Donyan Rogers, founder of Modeltude Agency,said.“We have families that came out today who are our VIP families.They were able to go into the life skills empowerment institute and watch videos pertaining to our eight dimensions of wellness. They were able to watch videos about financial wellness, social wellness, occupational, environmental, spiritual.”
Erica Robles is a mom who volunteered during the event.
“We got some notebooks, binders, folders, and a backpack,” Robles said.“Just look at it. It’s good for saving money. They help us.It’s a big blessing.”
Robles’ family watched the videos from Modeltude Agency.
“The funny thing is I included my daughter.She enjoyed the videos along with me. She also started helping the environment by recycling.”