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Girl with face-painting, collection of backpacks, family with Wilson principal, bags from Supply Bank

In partnership with the Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living and IKEA, Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) hosted its second annual Back-to-School Resource Fair last weekend. More than 80 community partners provided NMUSD school-aged children with backpacks, shoes, linkage to community services, and a variety of other items and services, all at no cost.

Dr. Smith, Katrina Foley, Cottie Petrie-Norris, Michaell Rose, Vanessa Pasillas, Angela Allan-Hess, Manuel Chavez,

“We are truly fortunate as a school district to foster such strong community partnerships. It is these partnerships that provide crucial support to our families and ensure all our students are well-equipped to start the school year strong and ready to learn,” said Dr. Smith.

NMUSD Superintendent Dr. Wesley Smith welcomed the community, alongside 5th District Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley, 73rd District California Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, Costa Mesa City Councilman Manuel Chavez, Director of Community Benefit-Hoag Hospital Michaell Rose, and IKEA Representative Vanessa Pasillas.


The NMUSD community gathered in the IKEA parking lot in Costa Mesa, where attendees were entertained by a ballet Folklorico performance by students who had participated in the district’s Elementary Summer Program at Rea Elementary School. The summer program included dance with Active Learning,  featuring Folklorico dances from Mexico as well as jazz, hip hop, and contemporary styles.

Among the resources available that day were:

Let's Be Kind founder Rebekah Robeck

NMUSD students got ready for the first day of school with professional haircuts from stylists from the Paul Mitchell the School of Costa Mesa, health screenings from SOS and Families and Communities Together of Orange County (FaCT Orange County), dental kits from the Assistance League of Newport-Mesa, toothbrushes from the Orange County Health Care Agency, and lunch bags from IKEA. They also received baseball caps from Orange Coast College and tee shirts from Let’s Be Kind, a nonprofit organization started by a former NMUSD student. Bike helmets and booster seats were distributed to families by Clinic in the Park.

OC Lifeguards supplied life vests, while Hoag gave students teddy bears, lifeguard hats, cooling towels and flip-flops.

Volunteers from Power of One Foundation and Bracken’s Kitchen offered attendees hot dog lunches supplied by IKEA.

“Thank you to our amazing community partners who made this event possible. We value and appreciate all of you as we work together on our joint mission to provide support and resources for our communities to succeed and thrive,” said NMUSD Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Kerrie Torres. 

Visit the NMUSD photo library to view and download photos from the event, at no cost.