CHICAGO (WLS) -- An annual back to school parade made its way through Chicago's Austin neighborhood Saturday.
Led by Congressman Danny Davis the parade, now in its 41st year, pushes for unity and helps generate excitement among kids and their families.
"We're out trying to motivate stimulate activate our young people to know the value of education and to be prepared and ready," said Davis.
Chicago Public School students return to school on August 30th. It's the first time they're back in class before Labor Day in a decade.
Davis said the excitement surrounding the parade helps kids get ready for school so they can land the same opportunities other students do.
"There are a million jobs available in this country right now, but they are available for people who have certain skills have certain knowledge, understanding, work habits, work ethic," Davis said.
The parade stretched from Bloomingdale to Chicago Avenue.
"It's very important for them to get back in school because they need that education, they need it real bad, so they won't be out here on the street," said parent Loretta Lewis.
There's an even bigger need to get the kids back in class with violence rising among children this year. More than 250 have been shot so far since January, along with more than 30 killed.
"I will feel real safe when they're back in class," said Lewis.