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Ellsworth readies families, children for back to school

Ellsworth readies families, children for back to school

Children and parents go through a petting zoo put on by the Lasseter’s Lil’ Acres farm during the 2017 Back to School Round Up event on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Aug. 26, 2017. This event allowed for children to have fun with different activities. Parents also received information and educational resources from colleges, local libraries and scholarships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Ellsworth readies families, children for back to school

Senior Airman Shelby Billing, an air traffic controller assigned to the 28th Operations Support Squadron, paints a child’s face during the annual Back to School Round Up event inside the Pride Hangar at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Aug. 26, 2017. The Airman and Family Readiness Center hosted the event that included free school supplies, to prepare families for back to school. In addition to providing school supplies, the event featured a bouncy castle as well as other education activities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Ellsworth readies families, children for back to school

Children grab school supplies provided by Operation Home Front at the annual Back to School Round Up inside the Pride Hangar at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Aug. 26, 2017. In addition to getting free gear, children were able to participate in different art projects from the Dahl Fine Arts Center, visit a petting zoo, and go through a planetarium dome. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Ellsworth readies families, children for back to school

Families attending the annual Back to School Round Up event wait in line to receive free school supplies in the Pride Hangar on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Aug. 26, 2017. Airmen and families were given the opportunity to receive supplies such as backpacks, pencils and notebooks before the 2017-2018 school year began. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Ellsworth readies families, children for back to school

Families sign in to receive free school supplies during the annual Back to School Round Up event inside the Pride Hangar at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Aug. 26, 2017. With help from Operation Home Front, Ellsworth has put on this event for more than four years for families on base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --

The Airman and Family Readiness Center hosted the 2017 Back to School Round Up event in the Pride Hangar at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, Aug. 26, 2017.

More than 300 families participated in the day’s events, which included the distribution of free school supplies and other educational resources for children and parents in preparation for the start of the new academic year, which began Aug. 28 for area schools.

“Education is the emphasis of this particular event,” said Kevin Richardson, the regional outreach representative for Columbia Southern University. “Even for the small children, it’s education oriented. There is an additional piece for the adults and military service members for them to be able to look beyond their high school levels and pursue further [education].”

The Airman and Family Readiness Center has hosted this event annually for more than four years. Each year different groups are invited to provide displays and information for families. This year there were art projects from the Dahl Fine Arts Center, in Rapid City, South Dakota, a planetarium dome and a petting zoo.

 “For me as a parent, [this event] is important because it is a good opportunity to get back to school on the right foot,” said Tech. Sgt. Brian Thomas, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the Airman and Family Readiness Center assigned to the 28th Force Support Squadron. “It gives my kids the ability to see that there is more to education than just them going back to school.”

These showcases help incorporate different factors of the upcoming school year by combining fun with education, and it gives parents an opportunity to spend time with their children before they go back to school.

“This event is an opportunity for our little girl to go around and see all the events and have some fun at the end of the summer before she goes back to school,” said Maj. Erik Marcov, commander of the 28th Munitions Squadron.

The Airman and Family Readiness Center is the primary coordinator for the Back to School Round Up. More than four months went into planning this event, with assistance from squadrons including the 28th Security Forces Squadron, 28th Civil Engineer Squadron and the 28th Force Support Squadron.

For more information on the events that the Airman and Family Readiness Center coordinate, call (605) 385-4663, or visit their website at www.ellsworthafrc.org.