August 2, 2019 was Child Advocacy Council's annual Back to School Fair (BTS Fair). This year the event was held at the Commons Area Camdenton High School.

August 2, 2019 was Child Advocacy Council's annual Back to School Fair (BTS Fair). This year the event was held at the Commons Area Camdenton High School. The venue provided lots of room for the 482 students and parents/guardians who attended the event. Child Advocacy members and volunteers were joined by 28 community resources that shared information about their services and handed out school supplies, literature, personal hygiene and personal care products to the participants. In addition, Camdenton school personnel were available to help families register students for the 2019-2020 school year. Many of the volunteers who helped Child Advocacy members hand out school supplies are members of the Camdenton Retired Teachers Association. In addition several members of this group, along with members of the Elks Club, employees of the Gap Store, other volunteers, and Child Advocacy members donated their time to package school supplies for the event in late July. We asked participants of the Fair to respond to a short survey concerning the value of the Fair and the items provided by community resources. The results were overwhelmingly supportive of the literature and items provided. When asked “How do the school supplies and information/items provided by community resources provided at the Back to School Fair impact your family?” with instructions to circle one of the following: Not at all, Somewhat positively, Very positively, or Necessary, most families said the supplies very positively impacted them or were necessary. The Community Resources who took part in the BTS Fair (listed in alphabetic order) were: Camden County Child Advocacy Council Information Table, Camden County Extension Service, Camden County Health Department, Camden County Project Healthy Living, Camden County Library, Camden County Sheriff's Office, Camdenton Mid County Fire Department, Camdenton Police Department, Camdenton United Methodist Church, Central Ozarks Dental Care, Central Ozarks Medical Center, Citizens Against Domestic Violence, Compass Health/Pathways Mental Health Services/Royal Oaks Hospital, Eyes On Missouri, The Gap Store, Habitat for Humanity, Home State Health, Human Trafficking Coalition, Kid's Harbor Child Advocacy Center, Laclede County Extension Center-4H, Lake Area Technical Center, Lake Regional Medical Center, Medical Missions 4 Christ, Missouri Parents' Act-MPACT, Missouri Ozarks Central Action Agency, Missouri Ozarks Head Start, Ozarks Central Action Agency—Miles for Smiles, Primaris Medicaid/Medicare Claims, and Wal-Mart Vision Center. We requested information from community resources of the financial cost for their employees or volunteers to attend the Fair, as well as the cost for items they handed out to participants. We received information from 21 of the 28 groups. The cost for employees or volunteer time was reported as $3,546. The value of items distributed was listed as $12,127. We believe both figures are under-reported since many of the volunteers did not put a dollar value on their time and some of the handouts were literature which many people would be unaware of the value of. In addition to these cost figures, the school supplies, back packs, and vouchers for socks and underwear that Child Advocacy Council provided is estimated to exceed $20,000. Besides the value of each student beginning the school year with necessary school supplies, new socks and underwear, other personal care products, and information about resources in the community, we believe student's self-esteem is enhanced and their ability to succeed at school is improved. The value of the community support in the effort to help youth succeed goes well beyond the financial impact to the families and students involved in the Fair. If any other community minded individuals, businesses, or groups would like to participate in the BTS Fair next year, please contact Martha Driskel at 346-1850. We are happy to have others join Child Advocacy Council and the great group of community supporters who make the Fair a success. It is a good way to let families know of services you offer as well as provide support for the community. For further information you may contact the Child Advocacy Council at 346-0003. Child Advocacy is able to provide the Back to School Fair with funds raised at our Thrift Store at 77 Dawson Road and fund raisers such as the annual Trivia Challenge. In addition we received grants for this year's event from Community Foundation of the Lake of the Ozarks, Lake Area Daybreak Rotary, Wal-Mart, Trover Family Foundation, and Lake Ozark Rotary Club. If you would like to contribute your time or financial support to the Back To School Fair, please call Child Advocacy Council Thrift Store at 346-0003.