Eager students arrive by car and leave with school supplies during YSS celebration

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Parents, we know getting school supplies every year is stressful, but do you remember the excitement of a child opening a new pack of crayons? Or choose a folder with your favorite character on it?

The fun of new school supplies just got a little easier this year. The youth service system made it so parents could just get in the car and drive away with a bag full of treats.

Everything a child could need to start the school year off right was in 2,000 backpacks distributed to families at the Celebrate Youth Festival drive-in on Thursday.

At YSS, our mission is to create a brighter future for children, families and our community, so it is essential that we continue to distribute school supplies to help alleviate some of this stress.

Terra Crews, Director of Development, Youth Services System

Although not the traditional festival the region has enjoyed for many years, when COVID forced YSS to change their plans, they adapted.

After taking place at a different location last year, the drive-thru has returned to Wheeling Park outside the White Palace.

Even working in shelters and the community, I see a lot of our kids are in need and that helps families a bit with some of the costs that everyone incurs to start the school year.

Patty Morgan, Life Skills Specialist, YSS

YSS pulled the list of school supplies from Ohio and Marshall counties to ensure that what was in the bags was something the children needed when they returned to class. They also had a coloring book specially created for fainting.

All of these bags were still able to put smiles on children’s faces, like a drive-thru.

When I was a kid, I always had to have these crayons and stuff, so it’s probably super exciting for these kids to get the school supplies and help out.

Zoe Morgan, School Mental Health Coordinator, YSS

YSS ensures that children can still have fun. With the help of several sponsors and Wheeling Park, they are also able to give kids a coupon for an activity pass.

Thus, instead of enjoying the park during the festival as in previous years, they will be able to do so as a family.

We are still able to provide that day, but it is at their discretion. It allows them to do it at their own pace and it creates a way to keep it a little safer.

Terra Crews, Director of Development, Youth Services System

YSS and all the volunteers hope that next year the Celebrate Youth Festival will be a party again.

We look forward to collaborating with even more community members and businesses who want to come together for children, the community and their families. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do what we did last year or this year.

Terra Crews, Director of Development, Youth Services System

Each backpack also contained a printed QR code which, when scanned, would lead to resources on the YSS website that help children and families. If you want to be connected to some of these resources yourself, just visit youthservicessystem.org.

YSS wishes to thank its sponsors; The Health Plan, Marshall County Commission, Encova, Wheeling Park, AEP, Northwood Health Systems and Aetna for their help in organizing the Celebrate Youth Drive-Thru Festival.

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