Strong families — strong communities

Doninique Sutton, 9 (left), and Emma Grose, 9, enjoy a laugh together while playing bingo at CK Family Night on Thursday. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Doninique Sutton, 9 (left), and Emma Grose, 9, enjoy a laugh together while playing bingo at CK Family Night on Thursday.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Music filled the air at the second annual Central Kitsap Family Night Thursday.

Resource tables ranging from Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue to the Clear Creek Task Force displayed helpful information for parents and games and candy for children.

“We wanted to draw families here and give them resources,” said Mary Ellen de la Peña, co-coordinator of the event and Kitsap County Division of Human Services employee. “One way to encourage families to come is to put their children at the center.”

Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer displayed resources for parents about child safety.

“Places with a strong sense of community experience less crime,” Boyer explained. “This event is the perfect vehicle to decrease crime.”

Students from Fairview Junior High, Brownsville Elementary, Clear Creek Elementary, Ridgetop Junior High and Olympic High schools and the Filipino Ancestry International Dancers performed throughout the evening.

“I love seeing families in the audience with eyes twinkling as their children are performing,” de la Peña said. “It’s really gratifying to see them.”

The Central Kitsap PTSA Council volunteers sold food throughout the evening. Kitsap Regional Library offered two storytimes and those in attendance played family bingo.

Naomi Pursel, co-coordinator of Family Night and former Central Kitsap Community Council member, said building a stronger CK community begins with a strong family.

“Building that community in CK that isn’t there has to start somewhere,” Pursel said.

Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown also attended CK Family Night.

“This is an example of how strong a community we have,” Brown said. “It’s really important to support our community.”

Jenny Sasse, of Bremerton, brought her two children to CK Family Night for some “family fun.”

“We saw it in the newspaper and wanted some family fun,” Sasse said.

Sasse attended Family Night with a friend and her children. All enjoyed the event.

“I’m pleased with the event, there is lots of good information,” Sasse said.

Sasse’s 5-year-old son, Spencer, said his favorite part of Family Night was the candy, while 3-year-old sister, Emily, enjoyed having her face painted.

De la Peña hopes CK Family Night encourages families to spend more quality time together.

“Virtually all families could do with more quality time together,” she said. “Families should spend at least one night a week together.”

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