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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Volunteers are key to success of Stuart Pyramid Resource Fair

Stuart students and community members lay tarps on the gym floor to prepare for the Resource Fair.
A huge crowd is expected at Stuart High School this afternoon for the Stuart Pyramid Resource Fair, and volunteers from the Bailey’s Crossroads Rotary Club, Lions Club, Moose Lodge, and the Stuart community have been working hard to make sure it’s a success.

The Resource Fair, 1-6 p.m. Aug. 9, is aimed at ensuring children start the school year ready to learn. Providing school supplies and other resources for them is critical because more than 65 percent of students in the Stuart pyramid are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.

The Rotary Club organized the event, with help from Fairfax County Public Schools and the county’s Department of Neighborhood and Community Services. “The Rotary Club is a true champion for making this possible,” says Alejandro Cabellero of NCS. “We couldn’t have done it without them.” The club raised about $10-$15,000 through an online auction to support the fair.

Arlington Moose Lodge 1315, based in Bailey’s Crossroads, hosted a “great assembly” July 30, where about 60 volunteers put together 3,200 school supply kits. That effort saved about $4,250 over last year’s costs by having volunteers purchase the supplies separately and assemble the kits, says Kate Walter, Rotary member and Stuart PTSA president. “Clearly, this new event is critical to the long-term sustainability of our fair,” she says. Best Universal Movers contributed boxes and a crew to bring the kits to Stuart.

The second annual Stuart Pyramid Resource Fair also features information on all the schools in the Stuart pyramid; free haircuts, information about community and school resources, and fun activities, like balloon sculptures, face painting, and a DJ from Vizual N Tunes.

The Bailey’s Crossroads Host Lions Club is providing vision, hearing, and glaucoma tests. The Sheriff’s Office will distribute ID kits. And a community book drive collected about 1,300 books for children who come to the fair. 

Some new things this year include a mobile dental lab from the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program and a school bus for incoming kindergartners to explore, says Cabellero.

Providing students with school supplies and various services will save school counselors about 10 days to two weeks of time during the first part of the school year, Walter says.

Schools in the Stuart pyramid include Bailey’s, Beech Tree, Belvedere, Glen Forest, Parklawn, and Sleepy Hollow elementary schools; Glasgow Middle School; and Stuart High School.

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