ince the start of the 2018-19 school year, Clarke School District has been hosting Family Nights for Clarke Students and their families. On the second Tuesday of each month organizers work to provide an evening where families can come together at the school to join in community, learn about their students, the school, and take part in activities to bring everyone together. Each month the event has grown from 70 families at the inaugural event in August to an expected 500 at this month’s Thanksgiving-themed dinner.
“This is an opportunity for everyone to get out and enjoy a free night of fun and food,” said Becca Kedley, Clarke Elementary Instructional Coach/Family Event Coordinator. “It also give us the opportunity to build relationships outside the typical academic environment and provide guidance and support to our students and their families.”
Feeding 500 people comes at no small price. Keeping the event free for all who attend is a priority for the organizers, so donations have been an important part of the program. From simply donating time and support for the event to providing food, cooking supplies and equipment or monetary donations, the more the community helps, the better the event can be for everyone. As the event has grown, community leadership and local businesses have also stepped up to help.
“We knew at the beginning donations for the program were going to be important,” said Jean Bahls, Curriculum Director for Clarke Community Schools. “The amount of support we’ve received has been a overwhelming. The November Thanksgiving meal will be a wonderful event for our families thanks to all the community support.”
Thanks to community donations and their partners, the November Family Night will, of course, have a Thanksgiving theme and include all the fixings expected from a traditional, home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner including turkey and corn purchased through help from the CCDC, ham donated by Osceola Foods, green bean casserole made possible by a joint effort between Salford and Walmart, and dinner rolls provided by Fareway. Families will also be able to have their portraits taken at the event thanks to a donation from LuAnn’s Portraits in Motion Photography.
Tuesday night’s event will be held at Clarke High School from 5:30p.m. to 7:00p.m. Everyone is encouraged to enter at the main high school doors by the newly renovated auditorium.