Members of a Harlem church are helping children celebrate their upcoming return to school.
New Hope Baptist Church is putting on a Back to School Bash 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Harlem City Park.
"This is our first year doing this," said Pamela Bynes, the event organizer. "We're just looking forward to having a good time. It is going to be great."
The bash is designed for pupils from preschool to college.
The free event will feature several activity booths for children, including jewelry-making and nail polish. Inflatable children's rides, temporary tattoos and face-painting also will be available.
"I know the young people really love the face-painting part," Bynes said.
Educational booths and CDs will provide information about sex, drugs and alcohol, first lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign and scholarship information.
Columbia County Sheriff's Office personnel also will be on site taking fingerprints for the Ident-A-Kid program.
Parents can get information about immunizations, dental hygiene, children's backpack safety and scoliosis, Bynes said.
"The chief of police (Harlem Department of Public Safety Chief Jesse Bowman) will speak to the youth, letting them know exactly what it is they are supposed to be doing, how to stay away from crime and be aware they have to account for themselves," Bynes said.
Raffles will go on throughout the event, but in a nontraditional way. Instead of buying tickets for all of the raffles, Bynes said, those purchasing tickets can put them in a raffle box for whichever specific item they want to win.
"Instead of having one big box for everyone, we're going to let them put their name in the box for what they want to win," Bynes said. Raffle prizes include backpacks, cakes, and certificates for dental cleanings and haircuts.
A disc jockey will provide music, and refreshments, including hot dogs and hamburgers, are free.
For more information or to make a donation to the event, call the church at (706) 556-8066.
if you go
What: New Hope Baptist Church Back to School Bash
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Harlem City Park
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