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Parent Expo returns with supplies, information


By Alex Welch
Assistant Editor 

  With Henry County Schools starting up in just two weeks, Communities in Schools of Henry County (CIS-Henry) is preparing to hold its second annual Parent Expo to assist parents and students with the process of going back to class.

  On Saturday, July 27, Henry County residents can visit the expo from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Heritage Park in McDonough to receive free school supplies and learn more about ways to get involved this upcoming year. Shane Persaud, Executive Director of CIS-Henry, said last year’s event drew in thousands of people, and he expects a similar turnout this time around.

  “Last year we had about 10,000 people. We have somewhere around 35 nonprofits and businesses signed up to be at the parent expo this year,” said Persaud. “In addition to that, we’ll have the school system there being represented. They’ll have nine clusters, with teachers, principals and counselors.”

  Persaud said the school clusters are designed to introduce students and parents to various employees of Henry County Schools who will provide information on volunteer opportunities and other parent-geared events during the 2013-2014 school year. Accor-ding to Persaud, engaging the parents is one of the top priorities of the expo.

  “All of the schools have a challenge with getting parents involved. We’re hoping that by them meeting the principals and staff, they can open up a dialogue and find out ways they can get involved,” said Persaud. “It’s community outreach. Encoura-ging parental engagement is big.”

  When parents check in, Persaud said they will filter into the event and be required to visit at least one school cluster and five businesses and/or nonprofits. After they’ve made their rounds, they can move to the section where school supplies are being handed out.

  Last year, over 3,000 backpacks were given away to Henry County Students. This year, CIS-Henry and its partners are providing necessary supplies for each class.

  “We have pencil sharpeners, paper – college and wide-ruled, pencils, three-ring binders, crayons. We kind of paired it down to those basic essential items,” said Persaud.

  CIS-Henry partnered with Connecting Henry, Inc., Henry County Schools, Commissioner Bruce Holmes’ Youth Foundation and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) for the 2013 expo. Laura Turner, Community Outreach Liaison, said CHOA was excited to join in this year.

  “CIS is a great partner of CHOA, so it was definitely something we wanted to support and be involved in,” said Turner. “The biggest benefits are information on services, particularly for our children, and the distribution of school supplies. It’ll be great fun for the whole family.”

  Turner said CHOA will hand out supplies of their own to help the parents and families in attendance.

  “We are providing over 2,000 tote bags for the attendees. We will also have a booth at the expo where we’ll be providing information about pediatric health services available in our community.”

  The Parent Expo will have activities for children, including inflatables, face painting, balloons and more. There will also be free hot dogs and ice cream. Persaud said this free event is open to the public and no registration is needed prior to attending.

  Heritage Park is located at 101 Lake Dow Road. For more information, contact CIS-Henry at 679-432-4499 or



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