Nystrom students get school supplies, health education ahead of campus return

School officials and community volunteers handed out backpacks, supplies and health education at Nystrom Elementary on Saturday, April 10, ahead of the re-opening of WCCUSD schools on April 19. (All photos by Mike Kinney)

By Mike Kinney

With in-person learning set to resume April 19, community leaders joined volunteer healthcare professionals on Saturday to provide 100 backpacks and other school supplies to students at Nystrom Elementary School in Richmond, along with education on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Members of the nonprofit Simple Aid for Families Requiring Ordinary Needs, Inc. (SAFFRON) were joined by Rev. Andre Shumake, site coordinator and school outreach worker for the WCCUSD Mafanikio Academic Coaching Program at Nystrom Elementary, Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia and WCCUSD school board member Otheree Christian in the giveaway event at 240 Harbour Way South.

Community activist Antwon Clorid helped coordinate the event for SAFFRON Founder and CEO Tracy Miller along with Rev. Shumake and Nystrom’s school principal Jamie Allardice.

“We are helping 100 children… prepare for their safe return to Nystrom school,” said Tracy Miller, CEO and founder of SAFFRON, a nonprofit that provides health-focused services to single parents, women and children in need. “We can teach them the basics of infection control and how one person can make a big difference.”

SAFFRON’s volunteer members, which include nurses, social workers, physicians,  dieticians and mental and emotional healthcare professionals, helped provide healthcare education to Nystrom students, including lessons on germs, how they spread and how to prevent their spread via steps such as hand-washing.

Saturday’s event featured prizes for students who could answer all questions pertaining to health education around COVID-19, including three wireless, portable boom boxes donated by Richmond-based Green Remedy and Holistic Healing Collective. Nicole Reed, Adrian Walker and Jayme Castillo-Cruz won the prizes.

“In light of the fact that Nystrom school will be having in-person learning starting April 19, it is very important to share with our students the importance infection control and how to properly wash your hands as an example for when returning to school,” Rev. Shumake said.

Otheree called Nystrom’s giveaway event a “powerful experience.”

“It helps to know we still have a community that cares about kids and helps them to learn about to infection control and survive the pandemic,” Otheree said.