San Francisco, CA – On August 23, 2008, the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office will co-sponsor the Fifth Annual MAGIC Back-to-School Celebration and Backpack Giveaway. This year, 4,000 backpacks will be distributed to children and youth ages 5-17 in Bayview-Hunter’s Point and the Western Addition/Fillmore.

In 2004 Public Defender Jeff Adachi initiated BMAGIC, Mobilization for Adolescent Growth in our Communities, to address the service gap between the Bayview-Hunter’s Point community and the juvenile justice system. One of BMAGIC’s first undertakings was to sponsor a back-to-school celebration complete with positive activities, recreation and entertainment to encourage young people to attend and excel in school. Since then, BMAGIC has grown into a collaboration of over 50 community organizations serving youth and families. In 2006, Mo’ MAGIC, which covers the Western Addition and the Fillmore, was formed. Mo’ MAGIC meets twice a month and also counts over 50 community organizations in its membership.

Major sponsors of the MAGIC Back-to-School Celebration and Backpack Giveaway include the San Francisco 49ers Foundation, CBS Outdoors, Wells Fargo Bank, Union Bank and the California Pacific Medical Center. Additional funding is provided by local businesses.

“By providing backpacks and school supplies to the children of the Bayview, the BMAGIC program helps fulfill the mission of the 49ers Foundation to keep kids safe, on track and in school,” said John York, owner, San Francisco 49ers. “We hope this donation helps these children prepare for another productive school year and sets them up for academic success.”

In addition to the Backpack Giveaway, sponsors, community-based organizations, and volunteers will provide daylong activities for youth, such as 49ers training, community tree building, word fishing, poster and essay competitions, arts and crafts, rock climbing and sports. Free lunch is provided.

“The Back to School celebration is a community building event that upholds our deepest values: education and access to resources that support healthy living,” said Yvette Robles, BMAGIC Director.

Sheryl Davis, Mo’ MAGIC Director, explained, “This is an empowering event for children and their families. These kids are beaming with enthusiasm and eagerness when they receive their new school supplies. It shows us how excited they are about learning. We believe in youth, children and in their abilities to succeed. When equipped with the proper tools and some fundamental support, all kids can excel in school.”

According to Public Defender Adachi, the MAGIC Back-to-School Celebration and Backpack Giveaway “is part of larger community effort to encourage young people to succeed in school. Many of the families we work with to make this event happen come from the constituency we serve as public defenders, so it’s a great opportunity to connect with the community.”

In addition to the Bayview-Hunter’s Point and Western Addition neighborhoods, backpacks and school supplies are also provided to kids in the Tenderloin, SOMA, Mission, and Sunset. BMAGIC and Mo’ MAGIC are still seeking sponsors and are in need donations.

For more information on the MAGIC Back-to-School Celebration and Backpack Giveaway, please contact:

· Yvette Robles, Director of BMAGIC: yvette.robles@sfgov.org. This event will be held at the Bayview Opera House/Milton Meyer Gym, 4705 Third Street (parking available on side streets).
· Sheryl Davis, Director of Mo’ MAGIC, sheryl.davis@sfgov.org. This event will be held at the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center, 1050 McAllister Street (parking on Webster Street).

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