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Local NAACP chapter helps Oak Ridge families ease into new school year

Community leaders hoped an educational resource fair would help alleviate stress and anxiety for families.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Oak Ridge-Anderson County branch of the NAACP hosted a Back to School Fair on Saturday for families in the area.

Rose Weaver, the organization's education chair, said the event was inspired by parents in the Scarboro community who wanted to learn more about the teachers and programs ahead of the school year.

Weaver said the organization has learned the start of a new school year can give students and parents stress and anxiety, especially after the past few years with the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation.

"A lot of families were behind, you know, they did not have resources," she mentioned. "And so what we are trying to do is, if a child needs tutoring, they know ahead of time now where to go. If the child needs some assistance, in terms of the family financial assistance, utility is cut off, you do not have food, the resources that the school can provide."

Weaver said they are also looking to educate parents on how to help their children go through everyday struggles.

"We also brought the National Mental Health Alliance and they are wanting to be able to provide some opportunities for parents to contact them, and to share information about, you know, how you talk to your children, what can we do to help if a child is going through some type of a mental or anxiety crisis?" she explained.

For the NAACP, events like this are also about building community and bringing parents together to help make school easier for their kids.

"We are hoping from this event that we can start a parent advocacy group where parents can talk about things that they are facing month to month and also serve as a vehicle for them to communicate with the Oak Ridge school system," she added.

Oak Ridge students head back to the classroom on Monday, July 25.

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