We'll admit it, we were officially BLOWN AWAY by the numbers of people who came to our annual end of year celebration. Typically we've served upwards of 150 - 200 people at this event. Not this year. Our best estimates - more than 400 people joined in the fun! Check out the photo gallery.
What Was The Enka Block Party All About?
The work of our Middle School Success initiative is all about building community and creating hubs of community resources on our middle school campuses. We do that year round - connecting volunteers to students in need of support and local families and community members to local agencies that can support their education, financial stability and health.
The Block Party is a chance to share a meal, have some fun, and remind people that this resource is here for them.
Kids got the chance to listen to some great music and meet Mix 96.5's DJ Kipper. They also got to strike a pose at the photobooth, play some cornhole and Giant Jenga, while parents had the chance to connect with community resources like summer youth programs from the YMCA, homeownership opportunities through Habitat For Humanity and great local businesses.
United Way staff and volunteers worked the food lines - going through the incredible potato and green salads from Artisan Cafe and at least 500 burgers and hotdogs.
- A young mother with an infant came. She does not have a student at Enka but is a graduate of Enka Middle and wanted to get reconnected with the school her daughter will someday attend.
- Students of every age (kindergarteners through high schoolers) played vendor bingo. Sure they wanted to win the prizes, but they learned a lot as they visited each of the twenty resource tables.
- Several homeless families enjoyed a warm meal and got connected to local resources through school social worker, Molly Pitman and our 2-1-1 staff members.
- Three women who have children at a local elementary school heard about the event and were grateful to receive food from the Enka Middle food pantry.
- And because of the dedication of Enka Middle teachers who volunteered to supervise students afterschool, a whole group of kids who would not have been able to attend had they taken the bus home afterschool, were instead able to attend the block party with their friends.
Just What Has Been Accomplished At Enka This Year?
A whole lot! Here are just a few highlights:
- We started early morning and lunchtime opportunities to support kids during the day (afterschool can be difficult due to transportation issues) and so far 30 students were connected to a tutor or mentor but we've got plans to grow
- More than 100 volunteers mobilized and 1,000 volunteer hours contributed (working directly with students but also helping with projects around the school)
- and 400 people attendees community events (not including the block party), most of these events involved a hot meal, childcare and a workshop for the adults.