Source: Sherman Publications

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Time for a break

by Phil Custodio

March 27, 2013

In front from left, co-chairs Tonya Cunningham and Kelly Hyer, and, in back from left, Joan Patterson, Andrea Schroeder, Heidi McClain, and Donna Bullard helped organize a full week of Spring Break Clarkston Style activities. Photo by Phil Custodio
In town and looking for something to do next week? Spring Break Clarkston Style has you covered.

"This is a great initiative to get high school kids involved in the community with their parents," said Tonya Cunningham, Clarkston Coalition for Youth community organizer, who is co-chairing the week-long event with Kelly Hyer. "We have had another great response from businesses and organizations, offering activities for spring break."

"Thanks to business owners and organizations for taking the time to do something extra," said Hyer, recreation supervisor for Independence Township Parks and Recreation. "It's a great reflection on our community."

Activities include drawing sessions at The Artist's Apprentice, and day camps at Busy Bodies, Stars and Stripes Kids Activities Center, Planet Kids, and Clintonwood Park.

Clarkston High School's Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Club is hosting Family Game Day, March 30, 1-5 p.m. The event is open to all ages as part of International Table Top Day, with euchre, chess, Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and other games available to use, or bring your own. Volunteers will be on hand to help setup and teach the games.

Businesses offering discounts include Clarkston Brandon Community Credit Union, Picture Perfect Memories by Sherrie, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Waterford Family Chiropractic, Yoga Oasis, and Cherry Hills Lanes North.

"This is an exciting initiative. I love where it's going," said Donna Bullard, Clarkston Brandon Community Credit Union. "Kids are very important to us."

"It couldn't happen without our business partners and parks and recreation it's a collaboration," said Andrea Schroeder, Independence Township trustee.

"We're trying to be different this year with more activities, to step up our game," Cunningham said. "It gives children the opportunity to be active instead of getting into trouble."

Service opportunities include volunteering at Clarkston Community Garden on the northeast corner of Stickney and Pine Knob roads, April 1-4.

"We're hoping families will consider signing up to volunteer a day together. Or, this is a perfect opportunity for students who need to complete community service hours for school," Hyer said.

Community garden volunteers will spread wood chips, donated by Clarkston Tree, along paths and to secure the garden's perimeter fence. The fence keeps deer and small critters out of 80 individual-share gardens and two large community garden beds. Volunteers will also work to clear a space for additional bee hives to be added to the garden.

"We are anticipating perfect weather to work outside in during the break. Every volunteer will receive a T-shirt and complimentary lunch," Hyer said. "Last year, we had 20-30 kids every day at the garden, it was so neat."

Volunteers at American Legion Auxiliary Campbell-Richmond Post 63, 8047 Ortonville Road, will make tie-up lap blankets for wounded veterans, and pillowcases out of local camp, school, sports, church, and community T-shirts to send to troops Tuesday, April 2, 6 p.m., with pizza, dessert, and music. RSVP at 248-892-1203.

"What's nice is that so many service oriented clubs and groups are involved," Schroeder said. "It's a real opportunity to contribute back to the community when they have lots of time."

"This is another thing Clarkton does well, Community involvement starts with the kids," Bullard said.

"We're very happy with the content of the program. It's well rounded, with activities and service opportunities, something for everyone," Cunningham said.

In its second year of a three-year commitment, the community initiative was organized by Clarkston Coalition for Kids as a fun, healthy, supervised, and affordable spring break alternative for local youth.

"It's an opportunity for kids to meet other children from around the community," said Joan Patterson, Clarkston Board of Education trustee. "It's a great way to give kids an opportunity to be a real positive in the community. It gives children and families the opportunity to see what is offered in Clarkston, a variety of things for kids to do."

"It gives us another outlet to get kids up and doing something," Cunningham said. "Our future is our kids. We need to all rally together and all have the same focus, our future."

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