STATENVILLE -- Echols County community leaders are gearing up for another successful Book-Bag Buddies Back-To-School Initiative.

Donations of basic school supplies are needed for this second annual project, sponsored by the Echols County Child Advocacy Board and Family Connection. This includes items like crayons, scissors, glue, pencils, paper, and folders.

Cortney Reynolds, Family Connection coordinator, said every child in every participating Echols County household will be presented a bag of back-to-school goodies during the event, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 31, at the local school.

During the day-long event, English-speaking participants will attend the Parents Assuring Student Success Program, facilitated by Vickie Burt, former assistant superintendent with the Valdosta City School System.

Latino families will attend a different set of workshops focusing on good reading habits, immigration issues, the school handbook, migrant education programs, and resources available in the community.

Reynolds said lunch will be served free. There's a possibility, she said, breakfast will be provided as well.

Advance registration is required. Those who wish to attend or make a donation can call (229) 559-5751 or stop by the Echols County Department of Family and Children Services. The deadline for registration is the close of business on July 20.

Last year, the initiative was limited to families who fell below a certain maximum income and included a free outfit of clothing. This year, Reynolds said the goal was to involve as many families as possible in an effort to prepare Echols County's children for a successful year of learning.

Echols County students return to school on Monday, Aug. 9.

To contact reporter Jessica Pope, please call 244-3400, ext. 255.

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