In collaboration with many community partners, the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD) and its Family Engagement Office held the first Back-to-School Extravaganza on July 27, providing local families with resources to help their children succeed in school.
More than 2,000 students and family members interacted with 15 different SBCUSD departments and 33 community partners at the event, which was held at the San Manuel Stadium in downtown San Bernardino.
“I just think it’s good providing for those who can’t provide for their kids,” said Alex Sanchez, the parent of three Kimbark Elementary School students.
The Extravaganza was an opportunity for families to get to know and interact with school employees and community organizations that care about the community and are available to help local families succeed. In addition to getting free school supplies to start off the new school year on a positive note, families were able to participate in arts and crafts, learn about academic support opportunities, and more.
“I think this is great,” Vanessa Flores, the mother of two Chavez Middle School students, said. “You have so many resources out. It’s nice to get back out and see what’s available.”
According to Family Engagement Office Director Beatriz Gonzalez, the goal of the Extravaganza was two-fold, but both were COVID-related. The first was to provide a warm welcome for our students and their families to get them excited about returning to in-person instruction and ease them back into more familiar activities after the 15 months of COVID restrictions.
The second was to equip families with the resources they need to help their children achieve academic and social-emotional success. That second part required support from community organizations to make sure families know where they can get free or low-cost food, medical services, mental health services, tutoring, and more. Many families struggled during the COVID lockdowns and continue to struggle with basic necessities, and when families struggle, children can’t focus on learning.
“We really want to thank all of our sponsors,” Gonzalez said. “Without them, the Extravaganza just wouldn’t have been possible.”
The Back-to-School Extravaganza partners included San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, OmniTrans, Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP), the California Emerging Technology Fund and Frontier Communications, San Bernardino Valley College, ePac Flexible Packaging, Loma Linda University Health – Institute for Community Partnerships, KSBD Amazon Air, Operation New Hope and Family and Kids Foundation, Amazon, and Dignity Health Community Hospital of San Bernardino, Thinkwise Credit Union, Santa Claus Inc., and Cicero Salmon, Horace Mann Insurance Agency, among others.