By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — More than 250 families attended the ACCESS back-to-school celebration to get backpacks filled with school supplies and learn about mental health services.
The event was hosted by the ACCESS School Based Mental Health Program which provides individual and family counseling, group support, prevention services and educational workshops with schools and parents.
Schools that participated in the celebration were Salina Intermediate, Woodworth and Lowery middle schools and Salina, Oakman and River Oaks elementary schools.
These schools also work with ACCESS to promote mental health well-being by providing psychological services to individuals and families.
“We serve low-income communities, so any way we can make their school preparation easier is great,” ACCESS School Base Mental Health Initiative Program Coordinator JoAnne Halaweh said. “This also allows us to show appreciate to schools and parents while celebrating the new school year.”
Children were able to pick out a colorful backpack filled with pencils, crayons, pencil pouch, scissors, hand sanitizer, pens, glue, calculators, paper, folders, notebooks and erasers.
Single mother and Dearborn Public Schools employee Hasenah Ahmen praised ACCESS and the work it does to help the community.
“I appreciate everything they do for families and children,” she said. “The school supplies and backpacks come at a perfect time because it gives families a break at the beginning of the month.”
Dearborn resident and mother of two Huda Ali said the school supplies provided by ACCESS help save her money and time shopping.
During the second annual celebration held Sept. 1 at ACCESS Headquarters, 2651 Saulino Court, children also were able to enjoy bouncy houses, snacks and temporary airbrush tattoos.
Most children were excited to check out their backpacks, opening them on the spot and going through the supplies.
“I love the bright colors and original design,” Woodworth student Eman Altaee, 12, said. “All my materials can be fit in one bag which will save me time.”
For more information on the school based mental health program go to www.accesscommunity.org/health-wellness.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)