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Columbia Urban League, Inc.

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Friday, August 13, 2021

Contact: James T. McLawhorn, Jr. 803.929.1040


Back to School Bash


The Columbia Urban League, Inc. will hold a drive-thru Back to School Bash on Friday, August 13, to promote students’ academic achievement and positive mental health.

This event will be held at the League’s Gateway Empowerment Center, 2805 North Main Street, Columbia, SC 29201, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students in grades k-12 will be given free food and book bags filled with school supplies.

Students are also being asked to take an Achievement Matters Pledge as a commitment to do their best. A pledge card will be in each book bag; students can scan the QR Code, which will take them directly to the pledge.


“This year has been extremely challenging for many of our students who have struggled academically during this period of primarily virtual education,” said James T. McLawhorn, president. “The League wants parents to know, their school districts have received millions of dollars through the American Rescue Plan that was signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021. Under this Act, the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds address students’ social, emotional, mental health, and the achievement/learning loss gap.”


We encourage parents to become stronger advocates for their children to secure the necessary resources to improve their academic performance.

He said the Achievement Matters Pledge asks students to do their best in school, at home, and in their community and to be respectful and responsible. Additionally, students are asked to pledge to speak with someone if they or one of their friends feels on edge or is struggling with concentration, anxiety, and depression.


“We want them to promise to take advantage of all the opportunities their schools have for them to achieve academic success,” McLawhorn said.


The drive-thru achievement bash is sponsored by Absolute Total Care and Wal-Mart.

“Although we would like to fellowship face to face with our community, due to the increase in COVID cases, we had to pivot to a drive-thru event,” McLawhorn said. “Our goal is to keep the community and our staff safe during these unforeseen times while providing free school supplies and food.”


Download your Achievement Matters Pledge Card below.

For additional information, please contact Juanita Dean-Bates 803.665.8047

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