Hundreds Gather for Back-to-School Celebration

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By Cami Crawford

Hundreds of young people and their families packed Nevin Park on Wednesday afternoon for the 18th annual Back-to-School block party sponsored by the Bay Area Rescue Mission and the Chevron Richmond Refinery.

The fun-filled event featured carnival games, food, prizes, entertainment and school supplies.

Members of the Oakland Athletics Green Machine were on hand to giving out ticket vouchers and other prizes. Stomper, the A’s official mascot, made quite an appearance and was seen leading dance battles and rock-paper-scissor showdowns to the delight of watching crowds.

Chevron brought its popular STEM Zone, a travelling exhibit designed to teach kids about science, technology, engineering and math through sports related activities.

As part of an annual tradition, Refinery Business Manager Matthew Payne conducted a reading of Dr. Seuss’ book I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!. Kids also received a copy of the book to take home and enjoy.

The event was part of BARM and Chevron’s annual back to school activities, which help equip local students with some of the essential tools needed for the new school year. Last month, 1,000 backpacks filled with school supplies were donated to kids throughout the community.

RELATED: 1,000 backpacks, supplies distributed at annual Rescue Mission giveaway

“We just want to give the kids a fresh start for the coming school year,” said Rev. John Anderson, the President and CEO of the Bay Area Rescue Mission. “Some of these kids need a little encouragement to succeed academically and to know that learning can be fun. We are happy to create a fun, safe environment for this to happen.”

The event also coincided with Chevron’s annual volunteer week, where teams of Chevron employees hit the streets to tackle community services projects across Richmond and the Bay Area. In total, more than 2,000 Chevron employees are volunteering in 185 projects supporting Bay Area organizations including many in Richmond and West Contra Costa County.

“It was a great day,” said Lily Rahnema, who recently joined Chevron as the Richmond Refinery’s Community Engagement Manager. “We’re proud that more than 50 employees came out to support the Bay Area Rescue Mission and show kids a good time while helping build excitement for the school year.”

All photos provided by Tony Avelar, Associated Press

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