TULSA, Okla. – 350 kids received new backpacks chock full off essentials for the start of the new school year last week, thanks to the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors Backpacks for Kids event.

The children attended with their parents and enjoyed face painting, pizza, free haircuts from a Tulsa salon, and the Wild Weather Camp with KOTV meteorologist Travis Meyer, as well as other activities at the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa. Officers from Tulsa Police Department also attended, and GTAR employees dressed like characters from the “Wizard of Oz”, which was the theme for the event.

The annual giveaway is for children chosen by Family & Children’s Services’ staff from their clients.

“It’s just fantastic,” said Crystal Houck, senior program director at F&CS. “GTAR always has a ton of volunteers, and we have a lot of fun helping put on the event.”

GTAR 2The backpacks, for which kids from zero to 18 years old were eligible, contained clothing, uniforms if needed, hygiene items and other necessities. Before the giveaway, F&CS staff worked with its clients to determine what the eligible children needed, as well as their sizes for clothing, colors for uniforms, and other items.

“Our staff get to help the children with their backpacks and interact with their families,” Houck said. “It’s a big family-strengthening event, in addition to something that gives the kids things they need to start school.”

Staff from F&CS’ Child Abuse Treatment Services, Comprehensive Home-Based Services, Parent Aide, Systems of Care, School-Based counseling and Early Childhood Program participated in event, which has taken place since 2006.

About Family & Children’s Services

For 90 years, Family & Children’s Services has been the place to turn for help with problems that seem overwhelming and too difficult to handle alone. The agency restores children’s well-being, heals victims of abuse, strengthens individuals and families, and provides hope and recovery for adults suffering from mental illness and addictions. Today, its life-changing services help one in six Tulsans.

Family & Children’s Services is a partner agency of the Tulsa Area United Way. F&CS is also a member of the following national organizations: Mental Health Corporations of America and the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. F&CS is certified with distinction as a community mental health center by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. F&CS is also certified with distinction as a Community Mental Health Center by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Additionally, F&CS is certified by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services as an Outpatient Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program and certified with distinction as a Gambling Treatment Program.