The community turned out in force to take advantage of the Mayor’s Back to School Fest at NRG Park’s Yellow Lot on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
This is the 11th annual give-away presented by Shell to help economically disadvantaged Houston-area elementary school students and their families prepare to return to school. Shell volunteers loaded family’s cars with backpacks filled with school supplies and boxes of food provide by the Houston Food Bank.
Parked under the summer sun in front of R. Martinez Elementary School, the bus could be mistaken for the typical mode of transportation seen across the district.
But after a second look, you will spot the bright colors, logos, and artwork that give it away: this isn’t your typical bus. Step inside, and the differences are even more obvious; gone are the seats and center aisle, replaced by Astroturf and hundreds of books for the taking.
This is the Literacy Bus, a partnership between HISD, the Astros Foundation, the Houston Public Library Foundation, and Occidental Petroleum. It’s a mobile interactive unit that encourages reading with the entire family, going to some of the most in-need neighborhoods throughout Houston.
In a partnership with the Houston Astros Foundation, the HISD Student Assistance Department is reaching out to Houston area students and their families to enroll them in school.
Both organizations will host a phone bank at Minute Maid Park this week to help recover students who have failed to return to an educational setting. Volunteers will be provided a list of names, contact information and a script to allow them to engage with students and parents during the call.