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Thursday, May 19, 2022

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Mayor’s Back to School Fest returns for fifth year


Edited BTS Fest

“Since Mayor Parker and her administration will be completing their term, we are hoping the next mayor will continue the Back to School program and the sponsor will continue to be shell,” said Sharon Beshouri, a spokesperson for Shell. | Pablo Milanese/The Cougar

Eager parents lined up with their children Saturday morning for the Mayor’s Back to School Fest, hosted by Mayor Annise Parker and sponsored by Shell, at the Athletics and Alumni building.

“This program is about education, and we believe if kids come here to the University campus they can start dreaming about going to college,” said President Renu Khator. “All of our missions are the same. Our purpose is to prepare the little kids with all the tools and with a dream.”

Since creating this event, the Shell Company has affected the Houston community by preparing many students for the school year. This year they provided more than 25,000 students with school supplies.

“The city usually looks for Shell to collaborate with, and five years ago we were really excited to discuss what we could do for the children in the community,” said Sharon Beshouri, a spokesperson for Shell. “We’re part of Houston and like to support it so it can be a great place for people to grow up.”

Three years ago another partner joined. UH began hosting the event on campus, and has continued to do so.

“A few years ago we got involved (with) Mayor Parker because she wanted to bring this event to UH, so the students can have an expression of what a higher institute of education feels like,” said Susie R. Molina, director of community relations for the UH System Office of Governmental Relations.

The event offered school supplies, backpacks, clothes, City of Houston information, health screenings, immunizations and social service resources to the attending families.

“This is our second year; I loved it last year and I love it more this year,” said Kia Brown, an attending parent. “The community is always coming together to do something for the families, and the event has a big influence on my daughter, Kinley.”

The event was not only packed with families but also with many volunteers from the Houston community.

“For three years, I have volunteered at this event; it’s one of my passions, “ said Lilly Warden, the volunteer captain.

For five years the Mayor’s Back to School Fest has impacted the Houston community positively, as many are hopeful that it will continue in future years.

“This event is important because it encourages parents to seek services for items they might need assistance (with) and encourages kids to stay in school; that’s one of our main objectives,” Warden said.

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