DALLAS – As students begin preparing to head back to school, many families say stocking up on school supplies and uniforms can be tough. One Oak Cliff-area teacher has been spending the past two years working to help ease that burden.
Taylor Toynes is organizing his second annual community based back-to-school festival in Glendale Park, called "For Oak Cliff."
In a community that has its fair share of challenges, Taylor Toynes is a young educator working to make a difference.
”I’m hoping for good weather tomorrow,” he said as he and a friend unloaded school supplies from a pickup truck.
Toynes has been collecting school supplies and mobilizing community members. They're preparing for his second festival.
“I just want to do whatever I can to help out,” Toynes explained.
The young educator grew up in Oak Cliff and says he knows its challenges first-hand.
“It’s just so much poverty,” Toynes explained. “And that’s the root of a lot of things that’s happening as far as the violence, the crimes, the attendance in schools, the behavior in schools.”
Toynes, who currently works as a Community Impact Associate, says he and his team also understand the burdens families face preparing to send kids back to school.
Timika Adams calls it a hectic time.
“We’re getting school supplies, shots, trying to get them their supplies, their uniforms," Adams explained. "You know, some people can’t afford it. They don’t have the means. So it’s kind of stressful for a lot of families.”
About 2,000 students will received backpacks and school supplies at the For Oak Cliff Festival, thanks to donors and community partners like Texas Instruments, United Way, Dallas Mavericks, Mayor Mike Rawlings’ Office, Williams Chicken, and many others.
”I think that’s amazing,” Adams said. “That’s a blessing.”
Toynes expects Glendale Park to be packed with families. School supplies will be handed out on a first-come-first-serve basis.
”The kids that we have are very capable of doing everything that any other kid is doing in this city or in this country,” said Toynes. “But they have so many barriers that they have to go through in order to be great.”
The For Oak Cliff Back to School Festival will also include voter registration and a community job fair. The event will be held Saturday, Aug. 13 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Glendale Park, located at 1515 E. Ledbetter Drive.