The event, held in tandem with the Patterson Youth Action Commission—a youth led program for teens— will encourage children to take part in activities that promote school spirit, friendship and social skills. Last week’s opening featured a DJ from T.N.T. productions, a variety of games, and free prizes, all conveniently located within walking distance at the Patterson Skate Park off Las Palmas Avenue. The City hopes the event will alleviate many pressing issues associated with minimum days, including boredom, loitering and theft.
“In the past years, we’ve known the kids were hanging around downtown, so the Recreation Department wanted to do something for the youth,” said Julienne Flanders, director of recreation and community service.
“We’ve talked with PJUSD in the past and had interested groups who wanted to donate or give sponsorships or grants,” she said. “It all just came together in two days and we are happy with the outcome. We are fortunate that everyone came together as a partner. We hope the positive vibe will draw the kids.”
After the recent success of the back-to-school block party, City staff and the Patterson Joint Unified School District were eager to offer more conveniences for children throughout the school year and believed that a great place to start was to address the many problems associated with minimum days.
“It’s a fantastic idea,” said Shawn Posey, assistant superintendent of human resources, child welfare and development. “When we see a need, we don’t complain about the problem; we find solutions.”
“It’s busy out here on minimum days,” added Jason Hayward, youth development coordinator for Patterson’s Recreation Department. “We wanted to offer something safe and fun for the kids and gives them something to do.”
Hayward also stated that the event encourages children to become part of their community and offers many incentives to promote participation.
So far, the city has held a raffle for two $25 Visa gift cards, and provided information on teen field trips to Funworks (Aug. 28) and Boomers (Sept. 25), sponsored by the Center for Human Resources.
The YAC, primarily composed of 12 to 18-year-old students, is also working with a number of neighboring businesses about additional donations and services as an effort to gear up for new activities.
The minimum day events are held from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. to give students and parents enough time until other recreational activities, such as the city pool and the teen center, have a chance to open at 3 p.m.
“The recreation department is going in a new direction and looking to put these things in for the year-round,” said Jeremy Ray, youth sports director. “I think it’s awesome for the kids to have something to do on minimum days, rather than going home or wandering around.”
“It’s a great collaboration, and knowing that we are consistently doing it will draw interest,” said Flanders.
Students who attended Wednesday’s opening said they loved the idea, and believed the break was a necessary start for the first week back in school.
Freshman Janessa Salcedo, 13, of Patterson High School said, “It kind of relieves us from the stress of starting high school.”
“It’s a good program,” added Amanda Magana, 14, of Patterson High School. “It gives us a chance to make memories.”
So far, the program is scheduled to be open until October due to weather constraints.
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24, or firstname.lastname@example.org.