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Sure, it was raining outside -- but nothing could dampen the spirits of the children who packed UMOM, Arizona’s largest family homeless shelter, for Back to School Night!
There was plenty to be excited about. The kids got backpacks and school supplies for the coming year. There was ice cream and popcorn, and a jump house to play in. And along with all the fun, a lot of learning was going on.
“Okay, mom, it’s safe to walk now,” said one little boy, clutching his mother’s hand as they stood at the edge of a make-believe street. People dressed as cars stopped and waited while the child and his mom used the “crosswalk” and claimed a prize.
Meanwhile, at the Have a Great Day station, kids and parents learned how to establish healthy school-year routines. They figured out bedtimes and wake-up times so that each family member could get enough sleep – and everybody received a new pillow. Nurse Julia Wise from our Phoenix program also provided helpful tips on how to share love and strengthen family bonds by leaving notes or trinkets in a child’s backpack.
The NASCAR Foundation provided some great giveaways, including trivia books and note pads. And an even bigger gift was parked outside. Earlier this year, The NASCAR Foundation donated $50,000 to repair and refurbish the Phoenix mobile medical clinic, including a new generator to provide much-needed air conditioning during blistering Arizona summers.
The mobile clinic provides care to many of these kids throughout the year to keep them healthy and ready to learn – because education is the surest path to success.
Rain or shine, it’s good to have friends. Thanks for your help, The NASCAR Foundation! The children we serve in Phoenix definitely benefit.