“Gearing Up for Success” helping get families ready for school

Published 12:10 am Sunday, July 23, 2023

SALISBURY — Summer vacation is in full swing for many kids and their families, but school will return sooner than most people think. Luckily, the Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency, Inc. has helped take the lead to give kids the tools they need to prosper in the upcoming academic year.

On Friday, the agency organized a “Gearing Up for Success” back-to-school celebration free to the public, where people were encouraged to take part in the fun, food and educational services. Local agencies Novant Health, N.C. Navigator Consortium, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, and others had stands set up to share information and support for anyone who was interested.

“It’s the community’s responsibility to ensure that our children are ready. We have to prepare our next generation of leaders and workforce. Anything we can do to help, especially in Community Action, we’re going to do it,” Executive Director of Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency, Inc. Dione Adkins said.

The agency also pulled funds together for a backpack giveaway and a raffle for YMCA youth passes. But what really got the most attention was all of the free shoes. Kids and their parents waited in line to get their own pair thanks to the agency teaming up with Samaritan’s Feet, a Charlotte non-profit, to donate 300 pairs of shoes.

ApSeed, an early childhood education non-profit, was on hand to do its own giveaway, too. ApSeed was donating its own touchpads called Seedlings, that “teaches children letters, shapes, sounds, colors, numbers, and we provide the touchpads with no wifi, no camera. It’s completely safe for the children. It’s completely free because our goal, our mission for the Seedlings is to get them kindergarten ready,” ApSeed Executive Director Julie Morrow said.

ApSeed, who has given Seedlings all over North Carolina, planned on giving out 200 on Friday. They are actually based in Salisbury and Morrow is proud that they still have a strong presence in Rowan County.

“We stay here a lot. This is where we have the highest level of people that we support in the state because this is where we started, this is home. It’s awesome to be here today and to be seeing all of these amazing children coming through,” Morrow said.

Jessica Fish is from Salisbury who brought her two kids to the event after seeing it posted online. They are each going into kindergarten and fourth grade, respectively, and are happy that they showed up to the back-to school bash.

“They’re having a good time. They got new shoes, backpacks, treats, and they ran into some friends,” Fish said. “The kindergartner is ready for school, the fourth grader doesn’t like it so much.”

Adkins says that the agency plans on making this an annual event going forward.