City of Houston Mayor's Office of Communications 

Mayor's Press Release

Mayor's 13th Annual Back to School Fest Celebrates Great Success Providing for Historically Underrepresented and Under Resourced Houston Youth

Back to School Fest Photo 1

August 7, 2023 -- The highly anticipated 13th Annual Mayor’s Back 2 School Fest presented by Shell and produced by the Mayor's Office of Special Events, was held this past Saturday, August 5th and was one of the most successful back to school fests to date. View highlights from the event here.

The event welcomed over 18,000 students and their families to the George R. Brown Convention Center. This is the 2nd year the event has been back in person since the COVID-19 pandemic.

"As we continue to navigate the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, my administration is focused on creating equity, especially when it comes to our children. Many Houston families are facing financial challenges and cannot afford basic school supplies,” said Mayor Turner. “The Back to School Fest is about providing relief and ensuring that every child has the necessary tools they need for a successful start to the school year. We are also prioritizing their health by providing dental screenings, vision screening, immunizations, COVID-19 vaccines, hair cut vouchers and backpacks filled with school supplies. The only thing we want our youth focused on for the upcoming school year is learning.”

Child in a dental chair at Back to School Fest

Over 5100 backpacks were distributed on-site.  The remainder of the 25,000 backpacks were distributed to the community through local non-profits, City Council offices and the interfaith community. The back-to-school fest also featured a wide range of health and social services and informational exhibits, including dental screenings, vision screeningsThis comprehensive approach underscores the City’s commitment to addressing the multifaceted needs of economically disadvantaged Houston-area elementary school students and their families.

The event would not have been possible without the overwhelming support of other valued corporate partner sponsors and community supporters, including presenting sponsor: Shell USA, Inc., host & sponsor: Houston First and community partner: Houston Food Bank.

“We are especially thankful for our valued sponsors,” said Mayor Turner. “Because of their generous support thousands of kids and their families will now have the necessary tools for a successful start to the school year. We’re changing their future one child at a time.”

"As the presenting sponsor of the 13th annual Mayor’s Back to School Fest, Shell USA, Inc. has been working with the city for more than a decade on a variety of programs to help prepare our students for success," said Christina Jones, VP HR US Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Shell.  "This is important to support our future talent pipeline but equally important to sustain and grow the economic landscape of this community. We are grateful for this opportunity to partner with Mayor Turner. Together we are moving forward with students and our community."

Back to School Fest Photo 3

“Mayor Sylvester Turner has been a champion of education and community development, consistently striving to improve the lives of Houston's residents. It is why we have dubbed him the “Education Mayor,” said Olivera Jankovska, Director of Mayor’s Office of Education and Youth Engagement. “The Mayor's Back to School Fest is just one of the many initiatives he has championed that reaffirms his commitment to education and supporting a bright future for students and families in the city of Houston.”

Event Sponsors & Supporters
Presenting Sponsor: Shell USA, Inc.; Host & Sponsor: Houston First; Community Partner: Houston Food Bank; Sponsors: Texas Health and Human Services; University of Houston; Checkers; Comcast; Kelsey-Seybold Clinic; Legacy Community Health; My Connect; Texas Children’s Health Plan; Verizon; YES Prep; DentaQuest; Justice for Children; Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages; Houston Community College; Prairie View A&M University; Metropia; 2024 College Football Playoff National Championship Host Committee; First Service Credit Union; Inb Sina Foundation; Enterprise; Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers; Texas Barber College; Jetco Delivery; Staples; Southwest Airlines; Crimestoppers of Houston; National Kidney Foundation; Houston Astros; METRO; STS Brand; McDonald’s Houston; Media Partners: CW39 Houston; Telemundo; KSBJ; Vida Unida

Back to School Fest Statistics Graphic