Thursday, August 10, 2023

Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29 Hosts Inaugural Back to School Fair

MARLIN - The Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29 and Schuylkill County Local Interagency Coordinating Council marked the start of the academic year with the inauguration of its 1st Annual Back-to-School Fair on Monday, August 7, 2023. 

The event took place at the Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29 Maple Avenue Campus, drawing a remarkable turnout from the local community.

Designed to cultivate enthusiasm for the impending school season and offer essential resources to ensure a prosperous educational journey, the fair showcased a collaborative effort among various local entities. The LICC sponsored the event with a determination to unify agencies, parents, and families for a common cause.

The Schuylkill County Local Interagency Coordinating Council (LICC) is an organization that facilitates the delivery of Early Intervention Services for infants, toddlers, and preschool children with special needs. The LICC also provides trainings and opportunities for agencies, parents and families to coordinate resources.

In previous years, the LICC traditionally organized an annual Education Fair at the Fairlane Mall. However, this year's Back-to-School Fair unveiled a fresh approach, with an array of complimentary offerings generously supplied by supportive organizations. 

Attendees enjoyed complimentary school supplies, lunch bags, and backpacks, courtesy of LICC, SAM, Inc., and United Way. 

In addition, free bike helmets were distributed thanks to PA Downtown Center and Schuylkill County Vision, while Father and Son’s Barber Shop provided free haircuts. 

The event also featured free dental and vision screenings, courtesy of Geisinger Dental, Pottsville Eye Specialists, Minersville Lions Club, and IU29 EI Preschool Program. Schuylkill County Sheriff Department and Minersville Lion’s Club provided free fingerprinting, and free hearing and developmental screenings were available, ensuring comprehensive support for attendees.

The diverse range of agencies in participation further enriched the event, as each table provided free materials and resources to foster a holistic learning experience for children.

The fair helped nearly 600 children with the participation from 40 agencies. 

"We are just shocked by the turnout," shared Lynda Yordy, IU29 Early Intervention Supervisor and LICC Co-Chair. "This was double than what we anticipated. We now know how to better prepare so that we can make this event bigger and better for our families and their children next year. We hope that families are able to utilize what we were able to provide and get excited about this upcoming school year."

Samantha Weisbeck, EI Coordinator at SAM INC. and LICC co-chair, echoed the sentiment of triumph. "I am so excited that we had such a successful event. Seeing all the excitement from the children as they got their haircut, school supplies, and visited all the local agency tables was amazing. We not only wanted to help them prepare for back to school, but we also wanted them to get excited for the upcoming year of fun and education! Our hope is to continue to make this event bigger and better every year for our community, and to support the children in becoming the best version of themselves."