It's not easy to get a room full of kids excited about heading back to school, but the crowd at the Windsor Water World community centre Friday night was buzzing at the prospect of getting back to class.
Representatives from community groups handed out backpacks, school supplies and swag from Pushers Collective to the excited kids after a summer of successful programs.
"It's to motivate them to go back to school in September and start out on a good note," explained Mehari Hagos. "If they didn't get straight A's last year, this is the year they can work on that."
Hagos is the founder of MH100, an organization that provides after school programs for youth in Windsor's west side.
"I grew up in this neighbourhood, I know how tough it is to get out," he said. "I'm here to show them if you work hard you can make it."
Friday's back to school party included a motivational video from Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford and a financial literacy talk aimed at some of the older attendees starting high school or university.
"They're always helping. Always supporting the community," said Binyan Tesfay, who will be starting Grade 12 in the fall.
The 17-year-old said after school programs at the community centre had helped him become a better student and basketball player, something Vicky Emanuel said she had experienced as well.
"It helps us be a better person and to work hard," explained the 13-year-old. "I really like it."