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After School Celebration Classified As Grade “A”
mesa verde
Members of the Mesa Verde Elementary Parent-Teacher Organization participated, providing water and information about their group to those visiting their booth at the Lights On After School celebration on Friday, Oct. 21. - photo by Ric McGinnis

Riverbank Unified School District and C.A.S.A. (Community And School Altogether) del Rio family resource center hosted a Lights On After School Celebration this past Friday at California Avenue Elementary. The event is held annually to promote after school programs and immensely supported by the community.

“The event was really well attended and well received,” said Program/Grant Manager Armando Nuñez. “We got a lot of positive feedback from the students, and the parents and even the community members and community partners have expressed a lot of praise for the event and the effort that was taken to bring everyone together. It was a feel-good event for a Friday afternoon in Riverbank for sure.”

The blacktop at California Avenue Elementary had students, staff, and families swirling about the activities and information booths that were on hand for the event. They bussed students to the event from Riverbank Language Academy, Mesa Verde Elementary, and Cardozo Middle School.

“I think the standout moment for me was when our students were arriving,” expressed Nuñez. “I was making sure the DJ was welcoming the students. I think those were the aha moments because you got to see their expression.”

DJ Rhoshambo entertained the crowd with music and a few activities including musical chairs, a Hula Hoop contest, and a dance competition. He also brought a photo booth that was a big hit with the students that lined up to capture the moment.

The Funworks mascot Freddy greeted guests, engaged with students, and gave away passes to the Funworks arcade in Modesto. The Kids Zone had a lot of buzz with the game corner, flying ghost activity, creating slime, sack races and a basketball shoot out.

“It was a great turnout,” stated California Avenue Elementary Principal Erika Ramos. “We had parents from the entire district enjoy some of the many activities that C.A.S.A. provided. The students were able to paint a pumpkin, face painting, make slime and played various activities, such as musical chairs and tricycle races to name a few.”

There were several resource vendors on hand like Center for Human Services, El Concilio, Golden Valley Health Centers, Learning Quest, Health Services Agency, Project YES, and the Riverbank Library.

The event was open to the community and according to Nunez there was more than 500 people in attendance at the event. Mayor Richard O’Brien was in attendance as well as Vice Mayor Cal Campbell, and Councilmember Darlene Barber-Martinez.

The event ended with a performance from Ballet Folklorico Viva Mexico de Riverbank.

“We want to acknowledge all the effort from the community partners for all the resource vendors that came out and had a booth and joined us there,” remarked Nunez. “Thank you to the City of Riverbank as well for acknowledging the effort that we are committed to keeping the lights on after school to keep a safe place for students to remain after school in addition to supporting their academics and enrichment activities. It is just a safe place for kids to be after school while they wait for their parents to come home.”