Hundreds are expected to turn out for the mayor’s annual Back-to-School Bash on Saturday at Frank Seale Middle School for a day of fun and excitement.

“We create an atmosphere for these kids that are going back to school,” said Sissy Franklin, who is involved in organizing the event. “They don’t have season passes to Six Flags. Some of them don’t ever leave their neighborhoods, so we pour it on thick.”

The pomp and pageantry outside of the school will feature a 36-foot water slide, zip line and teacup ride. Families can have their faces painted while indulging in hotdogs, popcorn and Slurpees. Midlothian Mayor Richard Reno is expected to join the festivities. 

To prepare students for the school year, medical and dental check-ups, and haircuts will be provided onsite. Franklin said — even though there would be enough school supplies for about 400 youngsters — she hopes that thousands of kids attend.

“They don’t all get school supplies, but they all get to be a part of the event,” she added.

As an added bonus, the experience is absolutely free.

Franklin is the executive director of Manna House, which is a 27-year-old Midlothian-based community outreach organization that provides food, financial assistance and other forms of support to those in need.

“We find out from these families what their needs are,” Franklin said. “Even after this is over, we further met their needs.”

The Midlothian Independent School District (MISD) believes the endeavor not only sets students up for success, but it also shows the commitment and dedication of Manna House to the school district and the wider community. 

"We are grateful to have a community organization that supports the students of Midlothian ISD," said Midlothian ISD Board President Matt Sanders in a statement. "With almost 25 percent of our student population being economically disadvantaged, we value this partnership providing foundational success for our students." 

Families attending the weekend’s event will have the opportunity to sign up for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

More than 100 volunteers will help make sure things run smoothly, including 14-year-old Rayna Lomax who is most excited about the water slides.

“It means a lot… just watching all those little kids have fun,” the Heritage High School student said.

There is still an opportunity for more organizations to get involved.

“We invite anyone that wants to come and advertise their business, you do it, but what you do, it has to be geared towards the kids,” Franklin advised. “It’s just a feel-good day to put a smile on their face before they go back to school.”

If you want to donate supplies or participate, visit manahousemidlothian.org or call the offices.

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Patrick Clarke | @PatrickClarke1 | 469-517-1456