New socks and underwear also come in handy. A bag full of personal care items doesn’t hurt. You can’t beat a free haircut or a complimentary makeover, especially if your pair those with a free professional photograph.
And if you top all off that off with a catered supper of nacho bowls, drinks and treats for a kid and their entire family, you might go a long way taking the dread right out a student on their way back to class.
Such was the method of operation Thursday night at the Rosehill Weddings ballroom on East Market Street as the annual Seasons of Hope Operation School Bus reception for older students not served by other back-to-school assistance programs played out.
Stephanie Davis, a Seasons of Hope board member and owner of the Rosehill bridal shop and wedding venue, said the program attempts to help Tri-Cities area teens who are not assisted by other programs and who, for any variety of reasons, could use a little help — kids living with grandparents on fixed incomes, kids with illness in their families and kids from working families whose income puts them just above the cutoff line for other programs.
The goal, Davis said, is to make them feel good and look good for school and also to head off some of the bullying that often comes with being a low-income student.
For teens with younger siblings who signed up early enough, Good Samaritan Ministries helped Seasons of Hope meet the younger children’s back-to-school needs, something else to ease the the teens’ minds and help their families.
Makeup artist Ren Allen from the Faces by Ren shop on on Roan Street came to make them pretty and show them how it’s done. Hair stylists Carlee Rhymer and Tammy Sybert clipped and combed and freshened up their dos. And a group of youth volunteers from Central Christian Church came to lend a hand wherever they were needed.
All total, Davis said, Thursday’s Operation School Bus reception went off at the hands of about 10 core members of the all-women Season of Hope organization and a near equal number of volunteers.
Incorporated last year as a nonprofit, Seasons of Hope has actually been at work for several of years, Davis said, rolling out their Operation School Bus program each summer and a Secret Santa gift distribution every Christmas.
More recently they have expanded their outreach to include a diaper pantry, a dignity closet for feminine needs and a Soctober drive for new socks that comes around each year before the weather turns cold.
More information about the group’s work and how to be a part of it is available online at www.seasonsofhopetn.com or may be obtained by calling 423-724-7398.
If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at 423-722-0538, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605, or [email protected]