Nia Lewis could have a career as an event planner. Her Back-to-School event downtown Saturday drew families for free food, fun, and school supplies.
But Lewis will need to wait for a career. The 15-year-old still has three more years before she graduates from West Orange-Stark High School.
A couple of years ago, Lewis started the group Teens Making a Difference (TMAD). She got other teenagers to help others in the community. Adults have offered their support, too.
Saturday, kids lined up to ride a mechanical bull set up on a blow-up bounce surface. They slipped and slid in an inflatable pool full of bubbles. They ate ice cream and frozen fruit pops on sticks from a local ice cream truck. And they left with a backpack full of pencils, spiral notebooks, notebook paper, crayons, scissors, anad tissues. Businesses pitched in with La Costa Dental giving away toothbrushes.
A DJ played music and fathers danced with daughters.
How did a high school sophomore manage a community event with a few hundred people? “I have a team,” is her simple answer.
The team arranged for donations across the community. Several West Orange-Stark alumni groups from different class years set up booths and handed out a variety of school supplies. They also got donations for the food and activities.
Saturday was the second year Lewis has set up the Back-to-School festival and she plans for it to become an annual event.