Sometimes 100 children show up for the after-school childcare program at East Ward Elementary School.
Communities in Schools and the Clements Boys & Girls Club combine, with community sponsors, to provide the care free of charge to families that would not be able to pay for daycare.
Recently, the students suggested they do something fun to raise funds for the service. That desire birthed the Longest Line Dance in Killeen, a first attempt at what organizers hope will be a regular fundraiser.
A hundred or so families drifted through the event March 16, a sort of last hurrah before the end of spring break.
A DJ provided music that wafted into the north Killeen neighborhood behind East Ward on Rancier Avenue.
Organizers David Woodberry and Phyllis Jones led the line dancers. Participants paid to come, danced a while and played on the school playground.
“It’s a good clean fundraiser,” said Jones, who chairs an education committee for NAACP and works in special education for Killeen ISD.
“This is good old-fashioned fun. It’s not competitive and the whole family can come do this together.”
Woodberry pointed to the houses visible from the school and the Connections building where he provides services daily for East Ward through CIS and the Boys & Girls Club.
“It’s great when we can get families outside, to come out of the house and play,” he said. “I’d like to do this more often.”
Woodberry said students who benefit from the after-school childcare brought the idea to Jones to do an event they would enjoy.
“They know there is no regular funding,” Woodberry said of the service that provides tutoring, snacks and outside play from the time school ends at 3:45 p.m. until parents get off work about 5:30.
“Once they get used to it, they will start coming,” he said of the event to raise money. “We need to fill up this field.”