Dayton Community Task Force ambushes children – with hot dogs
September 19, 2007
Volunteers for the Dayton Community Task Force wanted information from students and figured the best way to get it, was through their stomachs.
By all accounts, Wednesday’s Ambush Barbecue at Dayton Library was a success.
The event allowed volunteers to get feedback from the many middle and high school students who hang out at the library following school and sports activities. While the library has tried to provide activities such as video game and movie days as well as study space for the children, there have been issues with vandalism and it has strained the library’s already limited staffing.
“By default, we seem to be the gathering place after school,” said Theresa Kenneston, library branch manager. “These are kids who are either on a variance, or participate in cross-country or can’t be home by themselves or have been kicked off the bus and are waiting for their parents to pick them up.”
The reason the kids can’t stay on campus, Kenneston said, is due to contractual issues with teachers who would have to volunteer their time to stay after school.
Dayton Community Task Force members served hot dogs, chips and dessert to about 30 kids and asked them to write down the kinds of activities they would like to see available after school. The responses were entered into a drawing and winners received either a $10 gift card from Pizza Factory or a $5 card from Jack-in-the-Box.
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“This is really fun and it’s the first time that I know of they’ve done something like this,” said Kaeleigh Fowler, 13.
Jake Epperson, 11, is part of the cross-country team and usually spends his library time doing homework or reading, and was very clear about what he wanted to see.
“I’ve had a library card since I was in preschool and used to come here a lot,” he said. “I think a few more computers and a radio would be good … I think it’s cool that they’re doing something like this.
“But there are always kids and not enough adults. Maybe volunteers would be a help for the librarians, because this is a really nice library and I don’t think most people know about it.”
Dayton Community Task Force co-leader, Sara Ross, was happy with the response.
“The kids really seemed to enjoy it and gave us good feedback,” she said. “We will definitely do this again, but it is up to our funding how often we can provide special activities.”
For more information on Dayton Community Task Force and how you can help, call Healthy Communities at 246-7550.
• Karel Ancona-Henry can be reach at email@example.com or at 246-4000.