|By Braden Ashe, The Valley News-Dispatch, Tarentum, Pa.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
It marked the second consecutive year that students had access to free physicals, haircuts, vision tests and dental screenings at the bash. The students and parents also were given information about the Medicaid Children's Health Insurance Program, personal safety and the
"There is a definite need for this in the area, and we have to meet that need," he said. "It's not about giving a handout, though. It's about giving them a hand up and giving them access to the services necessary for the kids' success and well-being."
The bash is open to all students in need from the
"I'm nervous about first grade, but it's good to have this stuff," she said, waiting in line for her dental screening. "Plus, you get to see all your friends."
The younger children who gravitated toward the bash's moon bounce in the service center's parking lot were also exposed to booths dedicated to their safety and nutrition.
"A lot of the kids' parents were saying this is the only time all year that they get a hair cut," she said. "I know a lot of the kids really look forward to this day for the school supplies, as well."
This year, UnitedHealthcare took on the costs of the backpacks that carry the
"This event is a big help to those who need it, and we wanted to continue giving back," she said. "A lot of people don't have the money for even basic supplies and services that people need, so we wanted to help out."
"It's great for the kids because they get to see their friends and know they'll be alright at school, but it also takes a huge burden off the parents," Steele said. "Especially the single moms, and there are a lot of them around here.
"It's a great thing for everybody. Every child deserves an equal opportunity in the classroom, and this really helps out."
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