Leo tuned up for Opening Day in a big way with a Back to School Jam at Leo on Saturday, August 8, Shaka A. Rawls Producer/Director.

On a full-service day of service to the Auburn Gresham community, Leo offered COVID testing, voter registration and census information to adults, along with a meals giveaway that has been a weekly staple since the COVID pandemic hit in mid-March and now stands at more than 12,000 meals distributed.

Parents who registered to vote or produced a voter-registration card won a raffle ticket for one of 50 brand-new children’s bicycles Leo made available. When the bikes were gone we broke out the skateboards. Each school-age child who came by received a backpack stuffed with school supplies, along with a toy or an item of sports equipment from a supply vast enough to outfit an Olympics.

“I don’t think a single child left here empty-handed,” Leo President Dan McGrath said.  

Volunteers from St. Rita High School, the Big Shoulders Fund and Alpha Psi Alpha fraternity joined Leo’s faculty, staff, parents, students, alumni and friends in manning the various booths and tables. At the peak of the day there were an estimated 500 visitors on the grounds. The horrific shooting that left 15 people wounded outside a funeral home up the street at 79th and Carpenter three weeks earlier seemed like ancient history.

“This is what can happen when a community pulls together,” Principal Rawls said. “We’re celebrating our neighborhood and getting our young people ready for education.”