ECHO PARK (CBSLA) — LA Dodger superstars Justin Turner and Clayton Kershaw handed out 2,500 backpacks and school supplies in a back-to-school bash Saturday.
The annual event – held at the Dream Center in Echo Park – offers backpacks, school supplies and free health screenings, haircuts and a morning of fun to families in need.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Laurie Perez reported the Dream Center was an appropriate venue — what kid doesn’t dream of hanging out with some of the Dodgers coolest players?
Kershaw and Turner were celebrating a different kind of opening day today — the first day of school.
They handed out backpacks and good wishes.
“There you go, say have a good school year,” Turner said handing one fan some supplies.
The kids come from some of LA’s most impoverished areas.
The gifts come courtesy of event hosts Kershaw’s Challenge, the Dodgers’ Foundation and the Dream Center.
“When I was a kid, to get to go to CVS or wherever it was and get your school supplies was a really fun and exciting thing, so to get to do this for people that might not have the opportunity to do that is special and hopefully it gets the kids excited about school,” Kershaw says.
Many of the kids Perez spoke to were already excited to meet the Dodgers — and excited for school, as well.
“Andrew, tell me who your favorite Dodgers player is,” says Perez.
“I like Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson,” says Andrew Lopez.
Lopez also wanted to know who his favorite teachers are.
“Teachers?” Lopez says.
Justin Turner was quicker to name one.
“I had Coach Lake who I took one of his classes and then TA’d for him as well, I was a teacher’s aide for him and he always had a good way of putting things in perspective for me,” Turner says.
“Like how they play and catch the ball,” says Anabelle Mejia. She’s also a fan of her new supplies.
“Sticky notes, I have a folder, they just help you with the work,” she says.
The event is a big hit every year and it’s never lost on Kershaw how important education is.
“School was a really important part of my life just like every other kid, and it should be, and hopefully today helps to get them to that spot,” Kershaw says.