Join the Real Youth Alliance and Therapeutic Community Recreational Center for their annual back-to-school giveaway on Sunday, Aug. 7, from 1-6 p.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 2830 22nd Ave. S, St. Pete.
ST. PETERSBURG — Join the Real Youth Alliance and Therapeutic Community Recreational Center for their annual back-to-school giveaway on Sunday, Aug. 7, from 1-6 p.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 2830 22nd Ave. S, St. Pete.
The Real Youth Alliance and Therapeutic Community Recreational Center are two non-profit organizations founded by Paula Potts, Troy Potts, Eddie Mary, Consuelo Mackey-Perry and Alan Perry out of their love and passion for the youth they serve in the community. The two organizations have joined forces to provide a day of service for underserved youth and their families.
Potts developed this annual event over a decade ago when a young lady in her program was getting ready to embark on her high school career. The oldest of seven children and an honor student, the young lady’s mother did not have the means to provide her or her siblings with school supplies.
The young lady came to Potts’ office and expressed her misgivings about returning to school without new clothing and a haircut. She said, “I just want to look nice and be prepared for school like my friends.”
So Potts sprung into action and held her first back-to-school giveaway.
In August of 2007, Mackey-Perry and TETSalon staff, along with a host of other stylists and barbers, gave away haircuts, hairstyles, clothes, book bags, school supplies and bicycles to children in need.
Mackey-Perry has never forgotten how unfortunate she was growing up in a single-parent household with five children. Her mother couldn’t provide them with new hairstyles, clothes or school supplies. So, she has always believed in giving back and helping those who have shared similar struggles.
Because of the support she’s received over the years in business, Mackey-Perry always asks her staff and other community professionals to help her give back to those who may be experiencing what she once did. She held her first community giveback at her salon.
In 2010, Mackey-Perry teamed up with Potts to further the mission. With Mackey-Perry and Perry starting the Real Youth Alliance, they can do more to support the community and give help and resources in a spirit of collaboration, not competition.
Therapeutic Community Recreation Center and Real Youth Alliance have rallied many community organizations, small business owners, and churches to help less fortunate students start the new school year off right.
Through this partnership, they were able to build a strong community coalition of services that has provided families and youths the opportunity to not only receive gently used shoes and clothing for all ages and complimentary food items but also haircuts from a team of professional stylists, medical services, such as eye exams, hearing tests, immunizations, and school physicals for sports.
This year’s event will include a pantry tent where families can take home food items, backpacks, and school supplies. Free lunches and entertainment such as face-painting and bouncy houses will be provided.
Families will be required to check in at the check-in station, where they will be given a family demographic form to complete. Parents must have children with them to participate.
Once families are admitted, they will receive their gift bags of goodies, lunch tickets, and a special ticket including all available products and services they may choose to have.
Parents will also be given a vendor’s passport that must be completed to be eligible for raffles, gift bags, hair products, and bikes. The vendor’s circle will provide parents with vital information about what services are offered in their community.
So, what happened to the young lady that was the catalyst for this event? She graduated from college and is now working as an educator in Jacksonville.