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Back-to-School Fair


Building Bridges Across the River kicked off the 2023-24 school year by hosting the Good Times Community Festival, a back-to-school fair held at THEARC Aug. 27.

The annual event, which attracted nearly 1,500 people, is sponsored by Building Bridges and its resident nonprofit partners, and WC Smith, the Washington, DC-based developer and property management firm, along with many individual supporters. It featured food, games/activities, and backpacks, notebooks and pens/pencils for students. Building Bridges launched the fair as a way of ensuring that children who live in the community were prepared with the supplies they needed to start the new school year.

At this year’s event more than 700 backpacks were donated and distributed. Staff at Building Bridges and WC Smith contributed backpacks, as did residents from WC Smith properties, including The Collective and Avec on H. Members of THEARC’s Advisory Board also donated supplies and financial contributions.

Also participating this year were employees of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the agency that manages Reagan National and Dulles Airports. MWAA staff contributed nearly 300 backpacks and school supplies.

The Meridian Group, a real estate investment management firm headquartered in Bethesda, MD, also donated backpacks.

New to the festival in 2023 was the participation by Community Cuts for Kids, which provided more than 150 free haircuts and stylings to area children as they readied to start the new school year.  Community Cuts for Kids is a program of The Craig Shields Foundation, whose founder is WPGC radio on-air personality Craig Blac. Community Cuts for Kids, which also provides resources, educational opportunities and mentoring, serves youth in DC and St. Louis.

The Good Times Festival is one of several community events Building Bridges sponsors at THEARC each year. Other events have included Winter Wonderlands, the Spring Fling, Trunk-n-Treat (near Halloween) and holiday toy fairs.