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Dodgers & Bank of America support special needs network's Back-to-School event

Los Angeles, CA - The Los Angeles Dodgers, team sponsor Bank of America and the Special Needs Network (SNN), a Los Angeles-based nonprofit focused on helping special needs children and underserved communities, will host the city's largest back-to-school inclusion event on Sunday, August 31 from 2 to 6 p.m. at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers and Bank of America will be joined by other local sports teams-the Sparks, Galaxy and Chivas USA-to distribute the backpacks and school supplies. The Los Angeles Lakers also participated with product and the Los Angeles Kings chariot will be part of the festivities. The distribution will take place at the Lot G parking lot and Left Field Plaza areas. Attendees can enter the event through the Main Gate A off of Sunset Blvd. The event is free and open to the public (*backpack supplies are limited).

"The Los Angeles Dodgers are thrilled to be hosting the Special Needs Network back 2 school health and resource fair with our partner and sponsor Bank of America who is donating all of the backpacks," said Renata Simril, the Dodgers' Senior Vice-President, External Affairs. "This event will provide thousands of children a fresh, healthy and prepared start to the new school year. The community that has come together for this event makes up a winning team, but the real winners are the thousands of children and families attending that will benefit from much needed resources."

"This is our ninth year of putting on this event," says Areva Martin, co-founder and president of SNN. "We aim to provide relief for families under financial pressure so they can have the essential materials needed to ensure student success in school. The cost of school supplies can be a big burden on poor families.

"These families may struggle just to clothe their child and then they are expected to purchase large amount of school supplies. It's our hope that we can help provide some relief to that burden."

The Dodgers and Bank of America anticipate giving away more than 2,500 backpacks filled with school supplies.

"It is our hope that we can send as many students as possible back to school with the supplies and more importantly the confidence they need for future success," said Raul Anaya, market president of Bank of America. "We value partnerships like the one we have with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Special Needs Network because it truly enhances our ability to serve and support our local communities."

While the event is addressing a serious need in the community, it will also serve as a fun-filled day for special needs children and their families. The hip-hop boy-band Mindless Behavior with special guests Riley B will perform for attendees.

What started as a back-to-school event has grown through the years to include a health zone with access to more than 100 health screenings, as well as an educational area offering a literacy workshop. Attendees will also have access to a cyber zone to learn about today's technology and a fun zone with games, crafts, petting zoo and more.

Health screenings for a range of physical, emotional and developmental disorders related to adults and children will be provided by SNN partner community health centers and hospitals.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas considers this event "one of the country's most innovative events for developmentally disabled children and their typical peers." He, along with many other elected officials, plan to attend to show their support for the event and to lend a helping hand. Confirmed attendees include several assembly members: LA City Councilmen Gil Cedillo and Curren Price, and California state Senators Kevin DeLeon (Pro Tem elect) and Holly Mitchell. Also, players, former players and ambassadors from the Dodgers, the Sparks, LA Galaxy and Chivas will be on hand to motivate and inspire students and sign autographs.

The event focuses on supporting children with developmental disabilities and their families but it is open to the public and those in attendance can participate in a raffle and enter a chance to win prizes, including electronic tablets.

Event partners include Gloria Molina and Ridley-Thomas, both LA County Supervisors, as well as Cedillo and Assembly Member Jimmy Gomez. Additional partners include Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, Thinking about Tomorrow, Ralphs, Walmart, Yellow Cab Company and The Home Depot.

As a member of the larger civic community dedicated to leaving a positive imprint on Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Dodgers Community Relations team focuses their partnerships, programs, alumni/player relations and charitable giving in the areas of Sports + Recreation, Education+ Literacy and Health + Wellness, along with our military and first responders. Our mission is to connect with youth throughout greater Los Angeles and inspire them to play, learn, live and serve.

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