More than 300 Burbank children are prepared to start the school year off right after getting backpacks full of supplies this weekend.
The city of Burbank and the Burbank Housing Corporation partnered Saturday to celebrate the back-to-school season by providing the free backpacks at an event that also featured free haircuts, dental exams from Kids Community Dental Clinic for students and their parents, lunch, a dance floor with music from JACK FM (93.1) and prizes.
All Burbank students registered in kindergarten through 12th grade were eligible for the free backpacks if their family filled out an RSVP form before the end of July.
Seven-year-olds twins Andry and Jamie Gomez, who were waiting in line to get matching haircuts by students of Marinello Schools of Beauty, said they were excited about the free backpacks and haircuts for when they start third grade in a few weeks. But they were too shy to dance.
The outreach focused on residents of the Burbank Housing Corporation, five targeted neighborhoods in Burbank, as well as specific students identified by several nonprofits and the Burbank Unified School District Homeless Liaison, organizers said.
"We tried to focus in neighborhoods where the parents don't have the resources to prepare their children for school," said community resources coordinator Viviana Ardila.
The majority of the school supplies were donated by outside companies and organizations, including Woodbury University, Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, Nickelodeon and the Burbank Noon Lions Club.
More than 40 "Connect with Your Community" volunteers worked the event Saturday, and city officials helped stuff the 300 backpacks with school supplies.
"I think this is a really positive way to start off the school year," Mayor Anja Reinke said. "We're really preparing them for success."