Schoolchildren in the Savannah, Georgia area headed back to school with plenty of supplies and new looks, thanks to Saint Leo University’s Savannah Education Center. The center hosted an event—called Fresh Start—in July to give back to the community and raise awareness of the educational opportunities offered by Saint Leo University, a Sullivan Foundation partner school.

The Savannah center’s efforts drew news crews with coverage from WTOC-TV, WJCL-TV, WSAV-TV, the Savannah Morning News, and Southern Cross, the newspaper of the Diocese of Savannah.

Saint Leo’s Savannah center partnered with Amerigroup, E-93/Cumulus Radio (WEAS-FM), 100 Black Men of Savannah, Image is Everything Nail Bar, The Truth: Full Service Salon, Future Minds, and Socks for Courtney, for the Fresh Start event.

The children and teens were treated to free haircuts, manicures and hairstyles to try out for their back-to-school look. They also received Saint Leo book bags with supplies.

“This is awesome. This is wonderful,” Marcia Ferman told Southern Cross. Ferman attended the event with her twin sons and three of her grandchildren. Ferman, whose sister attended Saint Leo University and informed her about the event, even had time for a massage while she waited for the children to get haircuts and manicures. “This is very nice to do for the community,” she added.

Showcasing Saint Leo’s core value of community was one of the goals for the event, said Brian Bailey, assistant director of admissions for the Savannah center. It also was an opportunity to re-establish Saint Leo in its new location, said Candis Whitfield, assistant vice president of the Central Region for Saint Leo WorldWide. The Savannah Education Center moved in 2018 and hosted a grand opening in October 2018 at its new site, located at 325 W. Montgomery Crossroads in Savannah.

Saint Leo University’s Savannah Education Center is 14,900 square feet. It features 13 classrooms, a “cyber bar,” Learning Resource Center, computer lab, student study room and student lounge. In addition, the center boasts the university’s third Military Resource Center for student-veterans and military-related students. The Savannah location offers associatebachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Associate degrees are offered in liberal arts, business administration, and criminal justice.

Thanks to Saint Leo’s Fresh Start event, Savannah-area children may not dread hearing three words this year: back to school.

This article was edited slightly from the original version on the Saint Leo University website.

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