Rock’n Ready events set this weekend in Medora, Seymour


At the end of setup for the Rock’n Ready school supply distribution event, Bonita Dobbs is the last person in the Seymour High School commons.

It’s then that she looks at the stacks of backpacks, paper, pencils, crayons, glue, folders, rulers and more ready for hundreds of Seymour Community School Corp. students and their families to pick up the next morning.

She has been doing that since Rock’n Ready started in 2013, and it never gets old.

"It gets me every time," said Dobbs, program manager for Jackson County United Way, which organizes the annual school supply drive.

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"I stand there and my eyes well up," she said. "It’s Jackson County making sure our kids, our future leaders go back to school with the supplies they need. It’s incredible. There are no words to describe what that’s like. It’s a neat experience to see all of the supplies come together and just know that our community has done that."

From July 12 to 17, volunteers stood outside Walmart Supercenter in Seymour collecting school supplies for the Stuff the Bus effort. Each day, the supplies were packed into a school bus to be delivered to Rock’n Ready events at Brownstown Central Middle School, Medora Community Schools and Seymour High School.

Brownstown’s event was Saturday and had around 130 kids in kindergarten through 12th grade preregistered, while Medora’s event is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday, and Seymour’s event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Dobbs said nearly 140 kids are preregistered at Medora, and they can stop by any time between 5:30 and 7 p.m. Friday to pick up supplies. Walk-ins also are accepted.

In Seymour, those who preregistered received a card in the mail letting them know what time to be there. Walk-ins will be accepted from 12:30 to 1 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis.

Through Stuff the Bus, 17,744 items were collected, Dobbs said.

The number of students registering for school supplies increases each year as awareness of the program grows, she said. In the beginning, it was income-based, but Dobbs said that changed in the second year.

"The cutoff is July 12. If a family member loses their job on July 13, that’s a huge impact that we weren’t capturing those people, so we thought it was good to just do away with income," she said. "Anybody who lives in Jackson County in K-12 is eligible to receive school supplies."

A Rock’n Ready event has been conducted in Seymour every year since 2013, but Medora hosted its own for the first time in 2018.

Shannon Hunsucker, district coordinator of Medora’s Reach for a Star after-school program, said around 140 kids were served last year, and she’s expecting about the same this year.

"We’ve got just about every kid that’s in the school registered," she said.

Medora’s event is unique because along with school supplies, kids can receive a free haircut and personal hygiene items, sign up to receive free shoes, check with the school nurse about immunizations, enroll for the 2019-20 school year and register for after-school programs.

Hunsucker said Jerica Raby and Sarah Brown will cut kids’ hair, and they are still looking for a barber to cut boys’ hair. For kids who can’t make it to Friday’s event, local stylist Donnetta Coats and Hair Force Beauty Academy in Seymour have donated vouchers for them to get haircuts.

Hunsucker said five Medora churches and one in Vallonia have collected personal hygiene items, socks and underwear, and they will have volunteers helping at Friday’s event. Plus, the Hornets Nest will have clothing for students who need it.

At the events in Medora and Seymour, several of the United Way’s partners will have booths with information about community resources.

Hunsucker said Rock’n Ready makes a positive impact on families and teachers.

"The families aren’t having to go out and spend money on back-to-school supplies. You could spend 50 bucks easily. They can use that for other more needed resources," she said. "And then as far as teachers, they are getting those supplies from the families, so they are not having to go out and spend their own money. They do enough of that as it is."

Any leftover supplies from the distribution events are given to the schools. Last year, Hunsucker said there was enough backpacks, crayons and pencils left over that they lasted through the school year.

"It’s awesome with United Way getting it started and being able to bring that to the families," she said. "It’s just one less stressor that they have."

Dobbs said it’s great to see school officials in Medora and Brownstown start their own events to ensure as many Jackson County students as possible receive the supplies they need.

"For so long, we just had a distribution event in Seymour, but we have found that throughout the years, people in Brownstown, Crothersville and Medora struggled to get to us," she said. "It was very important for us to make those connections in those communities and bring that to them … meeting people where they are. Regardless of where you live, you are still a part of Jackson County."

Between collecting, setting up and distributing, Dobbs said nearly 250 volunteers help with Rock’n Ready. Plus, German American Bank is this year’s Rock Star sponsor, and there are other sponsors that support the effort.

"We have a great Rock’n Ready committee that’s committed to bringing this to the community," Dobbs said. "They are passionate about it and make it happen. It’s just a great event."

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What: Fifth annual Rock’n Run 5K Run and Walk

When: 7 p.m. Friday (registration starts at 6 p.m.); after-party with music by Paradigm and refreshments from 7 to 9 p.m.

Where: Race starts at Seymour High School and ends at Harmony Park by The Brooklyn Pizza Co. and The Seymour Brewing Co.

Cost: $30; register online at

Who: The event is for all ages; participants are invited to dress up like their favorite act from the 1980s or any decade for a chance to win prizes and bragging rights for the best costume

Proceeds: Money raised will go toward the year-round Rock’n Ready school supply collection program


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Upcoming Rock’n Ready school supply distribution events for registered students

Medora: 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday (walk-ins welcome)

Seymour: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday (walk-ins welcome from 12:30 to 1 p.m.)


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