Students return to school with smiles, less stress

Students return to school with smiles, less stress
Four-year-old Jynia Wilson enjoys decorating shoes with her little sister Leila.

While most children are running to department stores with their parents to pick out a few stylish pairs of shoes, backpacks and other necessities for the beginning of school, some children in the region are not so fortunate. Leadership and strong advocacy at one local area nonprofit helped area children get back to the classroom with less anxiety and worry for the upcoming school year.

While under the care of the Children’s Home Society of Florida, Buckner Division (CHS) children are challenged with reducing their stress and getting back to normalcy after experiencing early life challenges. On a recent Saturday afternoon the staff, donors and volunteers helped to provide a cookout complete with a bouncy house, prizes, a DJ and endless activities to encourage good times and fun in light of the big “first day.” The highlight of the afternoon came when the children were provided an opportunity to decorate their new shoes, appropriate for Duval County Schools. Children were supplied specialty paint pens designed to draw on these surfaces, offering the unique ability to reflect the personal creations of the artist within each child.

Deon Wilson, 5, was all colors and smiles as he made his artistic statement.

Deon Wilson, 5, was all colors and smiles as he made his artistic statement.

Through a generous donation on behalf of Bealls Department Stores and a cooperative program between K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers and SKECHERS, complete with on-site representatives, the organizations successfully teamed up to provide more than 100 children in CHS’s care with BOBS shoes. The goal of the programming is to improve the well-being, self-esteem and dignity of at-risk families and individuals. Smiles and enthusiasm seem to trump the worry and angst, a welcoming sign to the donors and staff.

“Everyone’s just out here having a great time, being a big family and we’re just so thankful that everybody came through,” said staff member Andrea Dezso.

The festivities took place on the campus grounds of the Buckner Division location on San Diego Road, Aug. 16. For more information on the Children’s Home Society or how you can get involved, visit www.chsfl.org.

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