The Emmett Reed Community Center and Park was the location for the annual ALPHA Starz (All Life’s Problems Have Answers) Back to School Jamboree. Over 700 backpacks with school supplies were distributed to schools and churches in Duval County. The distribution list included pencils, pens, paper and all the essentials for a first day back to school journey. Students and families in attendance were also able to receive COVID-19 vaccines available onsite. ALPHA Starz founder and Executive Director Gerri Ford. Ford is the brain child behind the non-profit that has served over 5,000 youth returning to school. “I’m a mother of five and in this economy everything is sky high. I’m thankful for Alpha Starz and their support in this community,” said recipient Mildred Racine. The ALPHA Starz was built on serving high risk youth who’ve been incarcerated and required motivation to move forward and become productive citizens. The nonprofit boasts that many of the student participants are now doctors, lawyers and/or are currently in college completing their field of study. “I started this non-profit for at risk youth. I’ve worked in many areas where youth require mentors to stay in school to succeed. All life’s problems have answers, it’s just that sometimes we need help to find the answers to be a winner in life,” said Gerri Ford. Shown l-r is supporters and volunteer readying for the pick-ups.