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Creekwood Community Fair

Johansen High School, CA

641 Norseman Dr, Modesto, CA 95357, USA
Modesto City Schools
Director: Brad Hart
Category: Community Event
Award: Silver, 2020

Project Description

The Creekwood Community Fair is a collaborative effort that has three goals. First, to connect directly with our schools neighborhood. Second, to support a cause with a local connection and purpose. Third, to provide some support for our own instrumental music program.

We serve the first goal by working with local businesses to provide goods and services at the fair as well as planning the event with a host elementary school, neighborhood watch representative, our instrumental music parent association, and student representatives from both school sites involved. We have intentionally moved the event off of our high school campus to reach more directly into the community. We also invite local non-profits and businesses that are either directly in our neighborhood, or serve the neighborhood. This has included everything from food trucks to county health and human services, and to even a local veterinary clinic.

The second purpose is supported by selected a different charity to support. This year we selected the Valley Children’s Hospital because of the work they did in healing a young elementary student at the host site. We then promoted that selection with the vendors, community organizations, and local paper to make sure to create a purposeful buzz.

Thirdly, we have the instrumental music program students perform for the attendees. We provide about two hours of live music that is geared towards a fair audience. The program benefits from some of the profits, but a majority goes towards the charity as our goal is to use music to support our community.

Target Audience

Our target audience is the Creekwood Neighborhood and the students that are served by Johansen High School. The portion of town is a high density of lower socioeconomic and a majority-minority community. Our focus is to get families out to experience the neighborhood in a positive manner.

Overview of planning and execution process for this project

The process begins by establishing a date with the host elementary site. Then we have early planning and job breakdown meetings in October/November with as many planning stakeholders as possible. The principal and myself then continually check in to see progress in various tasks. In February and March there are major meetings where we begin to focus on layout and attending vendors and organizations. In late April or very early May we do a site walk through to make sure all of the leading stakeholders understand the layout and roles to be had in setting up and running the event on the day of.

Throughout all of the year our student leadership team is working on volunteers from various clubs and sports to help run games for students. We have parents working to get vendors to sign up and have a booth. Each stakeholder has an area they are responsible for confirming attendees.

Sponsors/charities/volunteers/ other groups involved in the project and the benefits to each.

This last year was the most successful with about 8 independent vendors who were able to sell their goods and services. We had five community organizations (including a drug dog demonstration) who were placed to be able to make face to face contact with every attendee of the fair. We also had various game stations where kids and families could enjoy some together time. We also had the student who inspired the Valley Children’s Hospital selection present and we got to speak with and hear from her family about the impact that was made on their family.

Community Impact

The biggest impact is often seen for our program when we march around the neighborhood in the winter time to play music and ask for donations. We are often getting comments from the neighborhood that they love seeing us around and are so proud and thankful. It has also become a great joy to have been doing this just long enough that parents and students are entering the high school program having experienced the event from the other side. Their joy in helping the neighborhood is inspiring.

Most of all, though, it has been the strong relationship we have been able to build with non-band families. One of the loudest cheerers of the band is a neighborhood watch leader who has two sons who both never took music with me as their teacher. She will come find me at events and talk up the program to all those she can. It is those supporters, as there are plenty like her, that allow a program with little financial resources to gain campus and community support for bigger endeavors that are otherwise out of reach for our students.

Overall budget

$100

Specific Budget Breakdown

Waters for performers and volunteers: 40.00
Candy for game awards: 20.00
Supplies for raffle prizes: 40.00

New or recurring project?

Recurring

How did you update/change this project from its previous occurrence?

We have added elements such as craft vendors and food trucks this last year. We also drastically changed the layout of the event to create a more purposeful flow for the attendees. This change of flow also allowed all of the community organizations a chance to reach every attendee and not be separated from the action. We also moved the live music to a different location that provided a lawn space for people to sit under trees and on the grass to enjoy some music while eating or just hanging out.

The biggest change has also come in delegating out sections of the event to various stakeholders to maximize expertise and create a more meaningful set of connections that are community based and not by chance.

Challenges/obstacles that were encountered

The project has grown a lot over the last 7 years. Originally we held it at the park adjacent to the elementary school, but there was no bathroom facility and we were limited on our visibility with the community. The benefit was that we established good neighborhood watch connections and a good relationship with the police and fire departments.

A big point of growth happened last year when we moved to be at the elementary site and worked with one of the other academies at the high school. This gave us a blue print for expanding. So this year we were able to expand the event to be a more full fair, even without the large scale help of the other academy.

The biggest struggle remains marketing and getting even more members of the community to the event. We had over 150 people attend this year, which was a jump of 50 plus from the previous year. We believe now that we have pictures and evidence of success with a visible donation and purpose we are going to be able to increase attendance. All those in attendance had great things to say about the event so we know we are heading in the right direction towards achieving our three goals.

Measurement of the success/effectiveness of this project?

We measure the success by increasing the community turnout, community involvement (vendors, organizations, etc.), and the amount of money we are able to donate locally – which this year raised to $500.

The biggest change this year was creating focus areas for each stakeholder to focus on. This allowed us to better utilize marketing that was school based and use connections within the community earlier in the process and be able to have a better plan.

Advice for someone looking to replicate this project in their own community?

The dream is never too big, the goal is never too grand, but the planning must be realistic to be successful. You must also think of longterm growth for success and not of a singular day to rule them all. We have worked hard as a team to make this event grow and as a result we have created lasting relationships that will make this purposeful event outlast myself, my current students, and the site administrations. The purpose is not to promote your band, but to promote the community through your band.

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