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Monday, July 28, 2008

Back To School Fun Time in Riverview!

Kingsport parents have a lot on their minds, with school getting ready to start up on August 4th, 2008 (mark your calendars).

One thing they may not have to worry about, is where a lot of the school supplies are coming from. They were able to get them this past Saturday, at the "Back To School" Celebration, held at the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Community Center.


"Going back to school is very expensive," says coordinator Jeannie Hodges. The "Back To School" Celebration has been held every year for the past 7 or 8, and Jeannie has been coordinator for the past three.

"We feel like if we can just help them along with their shopping, maybe provide them some needed items for free," she says, "they can stretch their dollars further."

Toward that end, the Target Store in Kingsport donated many items necessary to school work. Target is a first-time exhibitor at the Celebration. The store also sponsored several gift certificates for parents, and toys given away as door prizes.

And we can't leave out the kids.. parents who brought their children got a chance to register them for school, and once that formality was finished, it was time for fun!

The Sullivan County Sheriff's Department sent its "Dream Team" and their Drug Education Car. It's a souped-up Pontiac Firebird with anti-drug messages all over it, that immediately got the kids' attention, especially the boys. Sheriff's Department personnel also did free fingerprinting for identification for the parents.

From East Tennessee State University, Dr. Dorothea Dobbins had information on the medical school there, and she photographed the kids in doctor's coats and nurse's smocks for those interested in careers in the medical field.

The New Vision Youth Kids had free face-painting, and no child could resist that. The Riverview Boys and Girls Club had neighborhood kids signing up, and their parents were learning about the club's new home--the old sanctuary of the Central Baptist Church on Carver Street (see the previous story in this column on the new club location). Headstart also provided parents with information that new and existing students can use, especially since their headstart location will undergo some big changes when the V.O. Dobbins Community Center/Douglass School building is renovated beginning in late fall. The Kingsport Library is also a first-time exhibitor at the Celebration, interesting the children in the area of reading books.

Amongst all the fun activities, at one point, some kids who had gotten bubble-blowing vials at one of the exhibits, discovered the fans on the floor, put there to circulate air in the gymnasium. If you put your bubble-maker in the solution, then hold that up to the rotating fan, it'll blow out what seems like MILLIONS of bubbles. Not only were the kids enjoying that, but several parents got into the act, too.. at this event, EVERYBODY gets to be a kid!

"It's good for the neighborhood to get together as a community," says Jeannie Hodges. "Community events always bring out the best in people, gives them purpose. What better way to involve a very active community than with school, and especially in the Dobbins Center. The old Douglass School was all about learning. This past Saturday, any questions about the upcoming school year got answered, the city school system got a look at some of their students and their interests, and all the community agencies got a chance to relay good information and updates about their programs."

The "Back To School Celebration" was sponsored by the South Central Kingsport Community Development Corporation, and Kingsport Weed & Seed, both non-profit organizations.