Highlights of White City activities

Families, volunteers, and community leaders gathered in Burns Park on Saturday, Sept. 22 to celebrate the ninth annual White City Fun Day. Families were able to partake in numerous activities for children and families of all ages. Highlights included martial arts demonstrations by Kick and Climb, a 65-foot dragon-shaped jump house, sumo wrestling, and finger printing by the Sheriffs office.
The White City Community Improvement Association and White City Charitable Foundation funded the event. WC Youth Against Drugs and Rogue Valley Family YMCA also provided resources and sponsorship. A number of groups ranging from the Girl Scouts and 4-H to South Valley Bank and Trust provided activity booths for the hundreds of participants.

Event coordinator, Judy Durkee, said of the activities, "I was
impressed with the creative options many of the booth sponsors had.
Most of them went the extra mile this year." Regarding the importance
of Fun Day and events like it, Durkee says, "It is important that
activities like this continue to happen in White City. I think the
White City community often feels like the Rogue Valley’s step child,
and often feels the loss of being itss own community. These kinds of
events not only provide great family activities but foster that sense
of community that White City so desperately needs." 

this year’s celebration marks the end of the federal grant for the
program known as White City Youth Against Drugs, which has allowed
Durkee and leaders from numerous community groups to sponsor activities
like Fun Day. Of the challenges community groups will face, Durkee
says, "This means many of the activities, like Family Fun Day and White
City Movies in the Park, that have been provided in the last 2 years,
will need to be picked up by community volunteers, or they will simply
cease to exist."   

The final meeting for the coalition
formed by the grant was held on Thurs. the 27th. The tone was both
celebratory and somber as the numerous successes of the coalition were
praised. While significant work lays ahead for community groups in
White City, the grant and the multi-faceted approach taken by the
coalition has made significant progress in reducing the number of youth
using drugs. In spite of its high-risk status, White Mountain Middle
School boasts a lower rate of alcohol use among its students than the
county average. Since the school opened in 2004, the percentage of
students who reported they had used alcohol in the past 30 days on an
annual survey decreased by 39%, tobacco use decreased by 44%, and
marijuana by 24%.   

Sarah Heath, of the White City
Youth Against Drugs Coalition, said in order to reduce the rate of drug
and alcohol use among youth,  "you’ve got to find positive ways for
kids to have healthy things to do." Over the years those positive and
healthy things have been as diverse as the students who participate.
The coalition has allowed students to take field trips to Science
Works, map crime with GIS technology, lobby for improved pedestrian
safety near schools, as well as numerous other opportunities.
the end of the grant does not mark the end of community improvement
efforts for the unincorporated area that comprises the White City
community, leaders recognize the creative efforts that will be
necessary to sustain the progress. One of the most promising programs
is the result of a Ford Foundation grant, which will allow interested
community leaders to partake in free leadership training from the
well-reputed foundation.
By Crystal Millien
Of the Independent

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