Less than three weeks away, the party includes a distribution of new backpacks and school supplies, gift cards for back-to-school clothes shopping, a fun family meal and a variety of free services — haircuts, makeovers, photographs and more — to help students feel good about getting back to school.
Director Katy Keen said, “Starting school is a time of excitement, getting that new pair of shoes or backpack with supplies. It's also a time to anticipate a new year and new beginnings. But for some kids, it’s a time of great anxiety.
“In our community, there are children who are healing from social, physical and emotional hardships and need the help of people like you. Without the right school supplies, it will be even harder for these kids to start the year. Our event gives each teen a great start to a new school year. We want them to look and feel good about a new school year.”
To get the job done, Seasons of Hope will be featuring one need weekly through the distribution party and this week the need is for gift cards for clothing.
Keen said the cards, “give teens the choice to get clothing they love” which helps them feel better about the new school year. And their top gift card requests this year are: Gabe’s, Plato's Closet, Owls Nest, Ross, Old Navy, Hollister, Aeropostale, Kohl’s, Academy Sports, Dicks, JC Penney, Hut 8 and Forever 21.
For those who prefer to sponsor a teen for back to school, there are 25 teens from each of three local counties — Washington, Carter and Sullivan — who are in need of Operation School Bus help and available for sponsorship online at www.roonga.com/osbteen.
This year’s Seasons of Hope Operation School Bus bash will be following a carnival theme for which the following items are needed:
• Party food, hot dogs, buns, drinks, cookies and more.
• Carnival games and decor.
• Fun skills such as face painting or balloon animal making.
• And, most valuable of all, volunteers.
Those who wish to help or contribute to the party may sign up online at www.signupgenius.com/go/8050e4eadab2fa3f85-operation.
The Mall at Johnson City will accepts donations of school supplies for Operation School Bus in a Stuff the Bus event to run from Friday, July 12, through Saturday, July 27.
Or those who wish to help Operation School Bus in any fashion may contact Seasons of Hope at [email protected], Seasons of Hope, P.O. Box 5633 Johnson City, TN 37602; or 423-724-7398.
More information about Seasons of Hope and its Operation School Bus can be found online at www.seasonsofhopetn.org or at the Seasons of Hope Inc. page on Facebook.
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, [email protected] or P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605.