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Students, Community Join To Celebrate Lights On
Face Painting
There were a few face painting tables offered through the Lights On event held at California Avenue this past Friday, which were very popular with youngsters attending the festivities. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

In recognition of the 17th Annual Lights On event promoting after school programs, there was a flurry of activity at California Avenue Elementary School on Friday. The Riverbank Unified School District After School Program staff and Casa del Rio organized a fun filled event that featured games, food, fun and entertainment for the entire family.

Entering the black top there were several booths with information on hand for parents and children like the City of Riverbank Parks and Recreation, Casa del Rio Family Resource Center, TOPS (Tobacco-control, Outreach and Prevention Services) Coalition of Stanislaus County, the Riverbank library and many more.

“I think the booths were of value … they provided information on the resources that are available,” stated Program/Grant Manager, Araseli C. Zamora. “I think the Lights On program is a great opportunity for our community members, students, parents, and staff to get together and highlight the value of after school programs in Riverbank and our surrounding communities.”

New this year to the event was the Stanislaus Family Justice Center which offers advocacy, crisis intervention, counseling support, child care shelter assistance, legal assistance and much more.

Multiple agencies like the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Department, California Highway Patrol, Riverbank Police Services and the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department all worked together to bring free helmets and bicycle safety to the youth that stopped by.

There were several different activities for students to participate in like pumpkin bowling, face painting, ping pong toss, bean bag toss, ring toss, coloring, bubbles, and hula hooping to name a few. The youth also participated in tricycle races, wipe out, and a soccer challenge.

The haunted house was a huge hit that gave guests an option between standing in a line for a scary walk through or a not so scary walk through. Home Depot donated the wood for the Haunted House and others including Riverbank High School students helped build it, paint it, and decorate it.

For the first time this year a DJ emceed at the outdoor grass stage area where kids participated in a number of activities and enjoyed the music.

“He did great,” exclaimed Bianca Lopez, After School Advisor. “His activities were very appropriate and lots of non-stop fun. I enjoyed it all; the best thing is watching the kids have a blast.”

According to Lopez, there were over 30 student volunteers, over 15 parent volunteers, approximately 30 staff members, and over 1200 participants.

The food court was filled with an assortment of goodies like tacos, popcorn donated by Galaxy, snow cones, the RLA PTO sold nachos, Cal Ave PTA sold donuts, hot chocolate, paletas and school spirit wear. The After School Program parents sold aguas frescas and other drinks.

“My staff did an awesome job in coordinating the event,” said Zamora. “I was impressed by the number of attendees and the parent/student engagement.

“I would like to thank all who contributed and participated at our Lights On event.”