To the editor:
On Aug. 14, on an almost fall like afternoon, more than 1,200 residents of Steubenville and surrounding areas gathered on the corner of Fifth and North streets in downtown Steubenville to welcome in another school year.
At 11 a.m. sharp, the sound of the Big Red Band was heard echoing throughout the downtown. With horns high and batons even higher, the band gave a sampling of its music for the 2014-15 school year. Crowds cheered as they waited to receive book bags and school supplies at the annual Back-to-School Bash held by the Urban Mission (www.urbanmission.org.)
Once prayer was offered, volunteers from local churches and groups such as the Neighborhood Community Development Center, the J.O.S.H.U.A. Work Mission program and the Steubenville High School football team and cheerleading squad were ready to serve the 900-plus students who received grade-specific book bags packed full of school supplies.
The event lasted from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with games and food for all attending. Vendors such as the Apple a Day Youth Wellness Program, Bridging Leadership, Head Start, the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County, JB Green Team, Buckeye Community Health Plan, Help Me Grow and Paramount Advantage were present to display their materials. Hot dogs, popcorn, chips and sno-cones also were served compliments of National Cash Advance, and fruit drinks were provided by the Steubenville Salvation Army.
As always, this scale of an event could not have been possible without the generosity of our community. On behalf of the Urban Mission, I would like to thank the following businesses and organizations for their support: Huntington Bank, for their generous donation of 650 book bags and supplies; CVS, Kroger, PNC Bank, Al Asir Temple No. 210 of the Shriners, Steubenville City Schools, Trinity Health System and Verizon, who contributed book bags as well; Eastern Gateway Community College admissions, the Wheeling Nailers, Lighthouse Evangelical Presbyterian Church and Franciscan University of Steubenville for school supplies; and Paramount Advantage, Steel Valley Charities, Brentwood United Methodist Church, EGCC, Hauser's Furniture, New Alexandria Community Chapel, Kolmont Missionary Band, state Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire, First Christian Church, Jefferson County Sherriff Fred Abdalla, Finley UMC, Steubenville Kiwanis Club, Lowe's, Voto Sales, Covenant Presbyterian Church and Wal-Mart Distribution Center (as well as several individual private donors) for their financial contributions.
It truly does take a community.
God bless you for your support and God bless our students (and parents), teachers and administrators as they begin another school year. May this be your best year yet!
Peace to you, from Cynthia Smith, community developer, Neighborhood Community Development Center; Lisa Thomas, event coordinator of the Back-to-School Bash; and me.
The Rev. Ashley Steele