Community Joins Together for Back to School Bash

North 6th Street was the place to be for parents and students in Steubenville on August 17 when the Urban Mission hosted the community’s Back to School Bash.

The hundreds of families that lined up hours before the bash began were treated to a special performance by the Steubenville High School marching band to kick off the celebration.  Then Executive Director of the Urban Mission the Rev. Ashley Steele told the crowd that the students would not be starting school this year alone.

“You will see in your book bags that there are small pieces of paper that say that every book bag has been prayed over,” she said.  “We think that is so important because we realize to get started off on the right foot that we need to include God in there.”

More than 1,600 pre-school through college students were expected to be gifted with a bag through the Back to School Bash.  East Ohio Conference congregations, businesses in the Ohio Valley, families and individuals donated the book bags and school supplies.

“It truly does take a community to help a child, especially during this time of year as they’re starting to get back to school, and we want to set them off on the right road,” Steele said.

“This really helps us out with back to school shopping,” said Susan Blanchard, whose kids were looking forward to getting new crayons and notebooks.

“The Back to School Bash is just a great movement of this community,” said Cynthia Lytle, director of Community Development for the Urban Mission.  “Every year I am touched deeply by how this community supports our students and the children here.”

*Rick Wolcott is director of Communications for the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church.