Hundreds descend on Nevin Park for Back-To-School carnival

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Hundreds of local kids and their families descended upon Nevin Park in Richmond’s Iron Triangle neighborhood Wednesday for yet another fun, educational Back-To-School carnival.

Carnival food and games, bouncy houses, face-painting, a Mobile Fab Lab and a reading from one of Dr. Seuss’ famous books all helped make the event another success, said the Rev. John Anderson, the Bay Area Rescue Mission’s CEO and president.

Hosted by the Rescue Mission and sponsored and staffed by Chevron Richmond, the carnival is a fun way to ensure many local kids are prepared for school and excited about learning.

“We want to encourage them to celebrate back to school, giving them a lot of supplies, a little bit of candy, and a lot of fun and games to let them know that education can be fun,” Anderson said.

Along with homemade root beer floats, popcorn and snow cone stands, kids visited free-to-play carnival game booths where they won school supplies, and also stopped by science-focused activity tables manned by Chevron staff. One table had kids making colorful slime.

“We really want to help our schools grow and to inspire you to learn about STEM — about science, technology, engineering and math,” Andrea Bailey, community engagement manager at Chevron Richmond, told families at the carnival.

The West Contra Costa Unified School District drove the Mobile Fab Lab to the park so kids could play with its many fabrication tools. The Mobile Fab Lab — part of the Chevron-supported Richmond Fab Lab — offers students and also community members the chance to use and learn advanced technologies such as 3D printers, laser and vinyl cutters, a mini-mill and more.

At one point during the carnival, school district Superintendent Matt Duffy called all attendees over to the Mobile Fab Lab to introduce the technologies and to urge their use.

“[With the Fab Lab], they can make anything,” Duffy told them. “They can make lights, fidget spinners, boxes, cubes, really anything they can think of they can create through 3D designs and 3D printing.”

As the carnival wound down, the crowd gathered at the center of Nevin Park to hear Richmond Refinery General Manager Kory Judd read from a Dr. Seuss book.

“Our friends at Chevron and many other community folks came out here today to make this a success,” Anderson said. “I wish I could name all of the partners involved. You have a lot of local churches, other businesses and corporations involved. We just can’t thank everyone enough.”

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