Southwood Back to School Festival brings community together
As many of us have experienced, the close of summer and back to school preparations can be bittersweet for parents and children alike. At Southwood, the end of summer is marked by the Back to School Festival, a vibrant community celebration hosted by Albemarle County Public Schools. The event brings together families, teachers, police officers, and community organizations for festivities, food, and distribution of school supplies and backpacks, with donations provided by Walmart.
Since its inception eight years ago, the Back to School Festival has become a beloved community event, both for Southwood families and the community partners who participate.
“We do a lot of volunteer work in the community, and the Southwood Back to School Festival is special to us. The kids and their parents come out and really participate – they even help us set up,” said Curtis Wills, who leads the team at Walmart’s local distribution center and has volunteered at the festival for the past six years. “We really appreciate that they allow us to be a part of it each year.”
The festival is also a chance for parents, teachers, children and community partners to meet and ask questions so that students and their families start off the new school year feeling ready and connected.
“For communities where there is a cultural or language difference, families may have a harder time engaging with the schools,” said Gloria Rockhold, Community Engagement Manager for Albemarle County Public Schools. “This event is a bridge to help connect them.”
Indeed, the Albemarle County Police Department sees Back to School Night as an opportunity to engage with families and children in the community in a fun and genuine way.
“Our presence at the Back to School Night allows us to show our continued commitment to partnership with the Southwood community,” said ACPD Captain Pete Mainzer. “We are focused on strengthening trust and breaking down barriers, including language, in order to develop strong, productive relationships with all citizens of Albemarle County.”
Click here to read coverage of the event from CBS Newsplex.