School district helps students get a good start

Orrin Logan gets a new backpack at the Community Back to School Day. He is heading in to TK this year.

JOSHUA TREE — Hundreds of Morongo Basin families came out to the Joshua Tree Sportsman’s Club Friday morning for the Community Back to School Day, an annual event hosted by the Morongo Unified School District that aims to help school-aged children have a successful school year.

“What we try to do here is get the kids off to a good start,” said homeless liaison for the school district Wayne Hamilton.

The event featured a backpack giveaway. Backpacks for students in first grade and up were provided by Kits for Kidz and backpacks for kindergartners were provided by the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools.

The event also featured school immunizations and information from Morongo Basin Unity Home, the Family Assistance Program and Morongo Basin Sexual Assault Services.

Families could also enroll their children into school at the event.

“We bring in computers for online registration for school because some families don’t have internet access,” Hamilton said. “We also have local agencies come in to provide information for families like the Morongo Basin Healthcare District.”

Superintendent Tom Baumgarten was also at the event, urging families to take advantage of local services. The school district recently received a $150,000 grant to help with homelessness and Baumgarten and Hamilton have been working with landlords to use that money to help families stay in their homes or receive temporary housing if they lose their permanent residence.

“We are the only school district in the county that received that grant,” Baumgarten said. “We want more families to know that there are programs available to them if they need them.”

For more information on these services, contact Hamilton at

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