Lights On Afterschool is a nationwide event that celebrates the afterschool programs at school districts across the country including the Riverbank Unified School District. The celebration was held outdoors Friday, Oct. 26 on the California Avenue Elementary school campus. For the past 13 years RUSD and Project A.C.T.I.O.N. (Afterschool Care Together In Our Neighborhoods) have collaborated on keeping the lights on for kids within the district with the afterschool programs. The afterschool program was created to keep kids safe, healthy and inspire them to learn while their working parents have the flexibility of picking them up at later hours.
Kids and families from Cardozo Middle School, Mesa Verde Elementary, California Avenue Elementary and Riverbank Language Academy attended the celebration this past Friday. Throughout the black top there were several resources for families to get information like the Parent Networking Center, Central Valley Opportunity Center, Catholic Charities, the Riverbank Library, Golden Valley Health Centers, Monica Perez with Farmers Insurance and Casa Del Rio, just to name a few.
There were several freebies handed out like sno cones, popcorn, candy, pencils and stickers. Families had a variety of activities to participate in like making crafts, face painting, hula hoop, corn hole, and a haunted house. The line was quite long on guests waiting to get some scares in the haunted house created by Riverbank High School students. The music was playing and entertaining those that were mingling around the festivities. Central Valley Community Resources CEO Darlene Barber-Martinez had kids getting in some physical exercise with a hula hoop competition.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department and Riverbank Police Services were on hand to fit kids for a free bicycle helmet. The Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District had a fire engine on hand for kids to check out and the Riverbank Historical Society and Museum had the 100-year-old fire engine that was visited by several kids. The fire engine was driven on and off scene by councilmember Cal Campbell and his wife Marina.
There was ice cream for sale to support the California Avenue PTA and an ASP fundraiser that included a hot dog, chips, and water or nachos and water for $3.
There were masks being made and faces being painted all in celebration, support and importance of keeping the lights on after school as well as keeping the afterschool program alive.