Contributions to the story, from the Office of the City Clerk
The theme for the 12th Annual backto- school celebration in the great City of Opa-locka was “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” and indeed it was. Temperatures soared in the 90’s, but even the heat could not put a damper on such “a beautiful day in the neighborhood” at the recently renovated Segal/Miller Park, 2331 NW 143rd Street, which was the perfect site for the August 14, 2010 event where more than 500 of the city’s citizens attended.
While waiting to accept their new “back-to-school” materials, some of the children from the community played, as others enjoyed the FREE hamburgers, hot dogs, fried turkey, fish, snow cones, cotton candy and plenty of water. In addition to the clown, who was on hand to paint the children’s faces, City Officials Mayor Joseph L. Kelley, Vice Mayor “Lady” Myra Taylor, Commissioner Timothy Holmes and former Commissioner Gail Miller greeted the families and distributed supplies to the youth.
This event was sponsored by the Office of the City Clerk and co-sponsored by Auto Depot Int’l.; Grace Academy, Florida Marlins and the Children’s Trust. According to the City Clerk Deborah Sheffield-Irby, “There were 700 book bags and school supplies available for every child at the park, and as a tradition, once school starts, various schools within the community would also receive book bags and supplies.”
Adding more “sizzle” to this “end of the summer” event, attendees were treated to a concert by Pipeline Records performer Lil Bass along with local artist K-Z Boyz, Brenda Lucas, Down and Dirty, D. Ruggs and Awall, as venders such as Paramount Health Care, ABC School Uniforms, Cloverleaf Chiropractic Services, Miami- Dade Beware of Guns Programs, Florida Highway Patrol, Empowerment and Rocket Tutoring Services supplied souvenirs, keepsakes, free learning books, brochures, handouts, and other valuable information to parents. There was also finger printing for youth identification, HIV testing for adults, Health screening and a successful voter registration drive. “We wanted to assist the families of Opa-locka by making the beginning of this school term less stressful for both the parents and the student, by providing them with some of the tools to look and feel good. “Do the math,” Irby encouraged, “…a healthy mind PLUS a healthy body EQUATES to heading in a healthy direction!”
Irby stated, “The celebration was a joyous day of fun and learning for the children of Opa-locka, as well as a day of resources and relaxation for the parents.” She added, “the renovated park was the perfect venue to represent a new start to a new school year.” In addition to the book bags, supplies and other goodies, school uniform vouchers and 100 soccer balls were disseminated. “The soccer balls are just a prelude for another surprise we have in store for our children, who we know are going to take these supplies and do an excellent job once they get back in school,” stated the City Clerk. “This October a professional soccer team is slated to visit the youth, giving them opportunity to see a professional soccer match, and for those whose interests are sparked, training in the game of soccer will be offered,” she further emphasized! With this optimism in mind, “Hot Fun in the Summertime” takes on another degree. However, for the great City of Opa-locka, the heat continues to rise, all-year-long!