Tuesday, August 7, 2012 · by Tamara Aparton
San Francisco, CA — More than 3,000 Bayview schoolchildren will receive free backpacks, school uniforms, educational supplies and access to free resources at the annual Bayview-Hunters Point Back to School Celebration on Saturday, Aug. 18. The celebration, in its ninth year, was made possible by a $39,192 grant from the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation.
The event, the largest of its kind, will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre, 4705 3rd St. and the Joseph Lee Recreation Center, 1395 Mendell St.
The celebration will feature music and interactive games and serves students from kindergarten to 12th grade and their families. The day will also include a giveaway of white polo-style shirts by the Tzu Chi Foundation for children in elementary and middle school.
As part of the “race back to school” theme, professional race car driver and Bayview native Mike Henry will be on hand and will be available for photographs, along with his car.
The celebration is put on annually by Bayview MAGIC (BMAGIC). The program, initiated by the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office in 2004, convenes more than 100 community organizations and concerned citizens who work to reduce the number of kids who fall through social service gaps by efficiently coordinating opportunities, support and resources.
“The grant from Lowe’s allows us to provide many more students with the tools they need to succeed,” said San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi.
Marshall Croom, chairman of Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation, said Lowe’s is committed to supporting efforts that enrich the lives of their neighbors and customers.
“By supporting organizations like BMAGIC, we believe we are contributing to a cause that’s important to our customers and employees and helping build a stronger foundation for our communities,” Croom said.
Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers will be assist with the distribution of back packs and other event logistics.
Activities at the event will focus on healthy living and the arts. A climbing wall, sports complex and bounce house will be on site and families can take part in a community-building art project with Painters Beautifying Kommunities. The day will also showcase youth talent.
Speakers at the event include Adachi, San Francisco Chief of Police Greg Suhr, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, San Francisco Unified School Superintendent Richard Carranza, Assistant Superintendent Davida Desmond of Zone K-12 Bayview and Paul Revere, and San Francisco Police Department Lt. Rob O’Sullivan, acting captain of the Bayview Station.
BMAGIC Executive Director Lyslynn Lacoste stressed the importance of meeting children’s educational needs in a tough economy.
“Many families in San Francisco are struggling financially. Our goal is to provide our kids with the right tools to excel academically, regardless of income,” Lacoste said.
With more than 50 organizations and city agencies on hand to welcome children back to school, the celebration will highlight the many services and resources in the Bayview-Hunters Point area.
Since its inception in 1957, Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation has helped communities nationwide through employee volunteerism and financial contributions. In 2011, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together contributed more than $32 million to support communities in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Additional event sponsors include the 49ers Foundation, Baview HEAL Zone, The Bigglesworth Family Foundation, California Pacific Medical Center, Comcast, Kaiser Permanente, Union Bank, Wells Fargo, SF Recreation and Parks, Recology, San Francisco Federal Credit Union, the Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre, SF Wholesale Produce Market, Veritable Vegetable, Rainbow Grocery, Bayview Merchants Association, Fresh & Easy and Project Homeless Connect.