Back to school, with a smile

MLK Center hosts event to distribute free school supplies


The Long Beach Martin Luther King Center hosted the Dream Big Rally last Friday, an event organized by the Rehoboth Community Development Corporation to get kids in the area ready—and excited—about heading back to school.

“We really seek to engage and empower and esteem young people,” said Soncerie Cornegy, director of the Rehoboth Community Development Corporation. “We want to help make the first day of school a day they look forward to.”

The group gave out 400 backpacks to kids on Friday, containing notebooks, folders, pencils, pens, crayons, glue sticks, binders—everything that is on those back-to-school supply lists, Cornegy said. Two different types of backpacks were provided, ones for kids in grades K to 5, and one for 6 to 12th graders. This is the ninth year that the group, headed by executive officer, Dr. David B. Gates, has been running the event.

The event also included a health and fitness portion, Cornegy said, as one of the group’s initiatives is to teach kids to be healthy and the importance of eating well and exercising. A Zumba instructor was on hand to lead activities with the kids, and Cornegy said they really embraced it — even some parents jumped in.

The event also featured performances by local talent. Kids sang for the crowd, and one performed spoken word about encouraging young people to “go to school, do your best, give it your all, and strive to be better,” Cornegy said.

The Rehoboth Community Corporation is a group focused on mentoring young kids. It has mentorship programs that pair kids, especially young men, up with successful adults in the community. The group also has entrepreneurial, educational and athletic programs.

For kids who could not make Friday’s rally, a number of backpacks were left at the MLK Center, and can be picked up by those who need them.