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Victory For Students With Lights On
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The Save Mart booth had a line of kids that received a coupon for a free apple or banana along with bowls filled with goodies at the Lights On event Friday at California Avenue Elementary school. - photo by VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

Celebrating eight years of keeping the “Lights On” for Riverbank Unified School District students in the after school program led by Project A.C.T.I.O.N. (Afterschool Care Together In Our Neighborhoods) at all campuses within the district, the community joined in a celebration on Friday. Some of the key aspects of the after school program are offering homework assistance, daily physical activity, healthy living promotions, standards-based English Language Arts and math support programs, community based enrichment activities, and more.

The Project ACTION mission statement reads, in part, “to provide a safe and healthy environment that promotes academic enrichment and student involvement in the school and community. It is our goal to make available a wide variety of academic and enrichment opportunities that can attract students to a positive atmosphere that will help build and develop a well-rounded character.”

There were several families that attended the event at California Avenue Elementary on Friday, Oct. 24 along with students from Riverbank Language Academy, Mesa Verde Elementary, California Avenue Elementary, Cardozo Middle School and several volunteers from Riverbank High School.

Youngsters had a variety of activities to engage in like the Community Trust Credit Union table that had a wheel that kids could spin and whatever it landed was a specific prize. A few tables spread out on the black top had small pumpkins with all the supplies to decorate them like using glue to add eye balls or colorful flowers. Riverbank Librarian Vicky Holt had a table set up with books and information where students could make a bookmark with yarn.

Riverbank Save Mart store manager Tony Angoletta and a few other employees were giving out all kinds of different treats to the guests along with a coupon which gave them a free apple or banana. They also had goodie bags; glow sticks for a safe Halloween and did a few drawings for a variety of prizes.

Modesto Symphony Orchestra had their ‘Instrument Petting Zoo’ on hand where youngsters were able to try any of the instruments that were on display like the flute, drums and others.

Some of the guests made their way over to Riverbank Sheriff Deputy Crowley’s location, where he had his motorcycle on display and allowed the youngsters to sit on the bike. Crowley even blared the sirens from time to time to cause a little stir of excitement.

The Oakdale Shelter Pet Alliance volunteers were out with a booth full of information and pictures of pets in need of forever homes as well as giving out pet vouchers. Al and Debi Scoles had Sadie, former shelter pet, at the event to entertain the kids with all her tricks.

Stanislaus County Health Services Agency had a booth and Health Educator, Ana Astorga and staff explained to the people that stopped by how to properly brush their teeth and offered a fluoride varnish free with the proper permission form.

Darlene Barber-Martinez arrived on scene with a handful of hula hoops and a bag filled with prizes for the Central Valley Community Resources table. The kids were in a hula hoop challenge and whoever lasted the longest would win a prize.

For the brave and courageous youth there was a Haunted House that had a long line and at the exit kids would run out screaming and laughing.

The sno cones were a hit with all attendees that kept cool on a warm day in October.

After school leader, Bianca Lopez was the master of ceremonies at the stage where the schools performed different acts to entertain the crowd.

“The staff did a great job of coordinating the Lights On event,” stated Dr. Daryl Camp, RUSD Superintendent. “Thanks to manager Keenon Krick for working with staff to secure all of the community partners for the event and for raising awareness to the importance of providing students with a safe environment after the school day.

“It seemed like students really enjoyed the event. In the Riverbank Unified School District, several students benefit from participating in the After School Program which is funded by state and local dollars.”