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Beyond the Backpack Helps Families Prepare for Start of School

WELLSTON, MO -- Students, families and members of the community joined Beyond Housing and the 24:1 for the 2019 Beyond the Backpack community back-to-school event on Saturday, August 10. The event was held at Normandy High School in the Normandy Schools Collaborative.

    “The energy here is so positive,” said Dr. Charles J. Pearson, Normandy Superintendent of Schools. “There are families, children, staff and community members all here to help make sure our students have a great start to the school year. Hats off to the 24:1, Beyond Housing, the city officials and all of our supporters.”

     A festive atmosphere, Beyond the Backpack included two bounce houses, a Bubble Bus, free food, and a DJ for live music.

     In the midst of the festivities were opportunities for families to learn important information about resources in the community. The sidewalks surrounding the school’s courtyard were lined up with more than 50 vendors including St. Louis Community College, Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, Parents as Teachers, Girls Inc., Wyman Center, Red Dough, and St. Louis Chess Club.

     Inside the high school’s North Hall were free health screenings and immunizations courtesy of Affinia Healthcare, which operates a health center on the Normandy High campus. The health center is available to all Normandy students, families and staff. Local barbers provided free haircuts, and lunch was available for those in attendance.

     A new addition to this year’s event was a sneaker giveaway, courtesy of Sneakers for Souls. Normandy families who registered online for school were able to sign up to receive a new pair of Adidas sneakers for each child. Teachers and administrators from Normandy schools were also on-hand to answer questions, meet parents, and share information on upcoming school events.

      And of course, Beyond Housing distributed more than 2,000 backpacks and school supplies to any student residing in the Normandy Schools Collaborative footprint. The backpacks were donated by pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk.

     “Bringing together volunteers, non-profit and corporate entities in partnership with the Normandy school district helps us create a real impact in the lives of students and families in our community,” said Chris Krehmeyer, President & CEO of Beyond Housing. “Thanks to the generous support of Novo Nordisk and others, we’re able to turn simple backpacks into a vehicle to transform lives and this community for generations.”

More photos available on the Normandy Facebook page.