Several neighborhood service groups celebrated the start of the new school year with help from the Atlantic Terminal Mall at an exciting “Back to School Bash” on Aug. 27.
Outside the shopping center, parents and students alike partied with hosts YWCA Brooklyn, EmblemHealth, St. Joseph’s University, Sigma Gamma Rho and Stop & Shop.
More than 1,000 free backpacks were given out during the event, and parents were able to take their kids for free wellness check-ins and dental screenings with licensed doctors and dentists. EmblemHealth even offered students free haircuts, making them camera ready for those first day of school pictures.
“Back to school is an exciting time for parents, students, and educators,” said Beth Leonard, chief corporate affairs officer at EmblemHealth. “Supporting the Atlantic Terminal Back-to-School Bash is one of the many ways we’re creating healthier futures for New Yorkers.”
Not only did youngsters score free classroom supplies in their new backpacks, but organizers also set up a slew of fun afternoon activities outsize the buzzing mall, including entertainment at the Brooklyn Bridge Parents fun-zone, the NYPD game truck, an NYC-STEM truck and a bouncy house.
Kids played with Play-Doh and Legos, and even got to dance and have their faces painted, making it an exciting afternoon for the whole family outside the terminal.
According to Martha Kamber, CEO of Brooklyn YWCA, her organization uses events like the bash to equip future generations for success — especially those who experience educational disparities.
“Our commitment is to young women of color and their families, and low-income communities in Brooklyn where we see much too often a disparity in educational offerings and opportunities,” said Kamber. “Together with our partners we will continue to strengthen community ties and uplift students of color through school preparedness and access to resources in support of their wellness and emotional needs so that they may begin a new school year equipped with the confidence and tools needed to succeed.”
Sigma Gamma Rho, an international, non-profit community service sorority, provided the free supplies as a way “to help children and families continue the march to normalcy as they return to school,” according to Camille Joseph-Varlack, president of Eta Nu Sigma Chapter Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc.
The city’s public school students will return to the classrooms on Sept. 8, according to the New York City Department of Education, and organizers of the bash say they plan to continue to provide free community events throughout the school year.
“We look forward to hosting additional community programs at Atlantic Terminal this fall,” Ehud Kupperman, director at Madison International Realty and owner of Atlantic Terminal Mall, said in a statement to Brooklyn Paper.