Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Second ‘We Play’ day held after first deemed success

“Our goal is to connect families with the schools,” said Carolina Rothkegel, one of the school department’s Steps to Success advisers. “We want to be there so families have the opportunity to meet us.”

The day will include food and activities like athletic events planned by the school department’s athletic director, Rich Ferro, said Juan Burns, a family center program coordinator. Burns said there is a large field and basketball court at Southpoint.

Last month a similar event at Village Park Apartments drew about 80 people who took part in activities such as hula hooping, jump rope, basketball and story time, and enjoyed refreshments including hot dogs, popcorn and other snacks.

“It went really well,” Burns said. He said this time he expects triple that number due to Southpoint’s larger size.

Principals and teachers from Wildwood and Crocker Farm schools have been invited, as have representatives of Family Outreach of Amherst, a program of the Center for Human Development, the town’s Leisure Services and Supplemental Education department and the Youth Action Coalition.

Family Center advisers Rothkegel and Emma Schmelzer have targeted 50 families to participate in the Steps to Success program, which offers support in helping children succeed in school. Those families may be low income, English language learners, have a first-generation high school student or other issues that may make relating to school staff difficult.

The Family Center is located at Amherst Regional Middle School. It will hold similar events at other apartment complexes in the spring, Burns said.

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