By Alex Welch
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
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
“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
Turner said CHOA will
hand out supplies of their own to help the parents and families
“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