First CRAFT Night shaping up to be one-stop resource shop for families

The ACTIVE Coalition's first ever CRAFT Night is set for this Thursday, but don't break out the construction paper and glue sticks quite yet. The CRAFT Night – CRAFT being an acronym for Community Resources and Family Training – is instead shaping up to be a one-stop shop for families seeking resources.

Jill Weinischke, community impact manager at the SHARE Foundation, under which the ACTIVE Coalition was formed, said the CRAFT Night will be an opportunity for local families, both traditional and non-, to learn about what resources are available locally, from legal aid and financial literacy to mental health care and food security.

"I think the vision was to have an outlet for parents and grandparents to have a one-stop shop of resources available to them so they're not wondering, 'where can I go for this?'" Weinischke said.

This Thursday night, Oct. 5, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., the CRAFT Night will be held at the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado's North West Unit, at 1201 N. West Ave. Parents are welcome to bring their children, and volunteers from eXtreme Youth Programs, Upward Bound and Camp Fire of El Dorado will be on-hand to keep them entertained.

"We have volunteers from some Camp Fire troupes and Upward Bound and eXtreme that will provide childcare for our parents, so their parents can focus in on the resources," Weinischke said.

Meanwhile, parents and guardians of school-aged children can peruse the various resource booths set up around the BGCE, and also hear from local mental health professional Heather Story, of Tru Story Counseling at SAMA.

On Monday, Weinischke was still hard at work finalizing details for this inaugural CRAFT Night, but she said she's also already working to plan the second-ever CRAFT event for next spring.

"We're going to do a quick, QR code survey to find out who they want to hear from for the next one when we do it in the spring," she said, referring to the guest speaker at the event. "We'll also ask the parents how often – it'll be a short survey, basically asking what they want to hear, how often and then we'll tabulate it up and make it happen the next time around."

Weinischke said the CRAFT Night is open to anyone who wants to attend, noting that grandparents raising grandchildren or others who have taken in minor relatives might be especially impacted.

"We want them to know that people in the community care about them, want the best for them," she said. "I think, perhaps, those grandparents-as-parents or kinship guardians that are just at a loss of where resources are in the community (are targeted)."

Attendees of Thursday night's event will be treated to a free meal, courtesy of the Boys and Girls Club, as well. Prizes will also be handed out.

For more information about Thursday's CRAFT Night, visit facebook.com/activecoalition. The CRAFT Night is free to attend.

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