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Planners Seek Sober Grad Support
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Casino games are one part of Oakdales Sober Grad Night celebration. This years Sober Grad Night is Friday, May 25 from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Donations and volunteers are still needed. - photo by Leader File Photo

With Oakdale High School’s graduation just weeks away, the Sober Grad Night committee is working on putting the finishing touches on the event geared to help the students celebrate and have fun while staying out of harm’s way.

“Our goal is to keep them safe from people who are out on the road, as well as to keep them safe from being on the road,” said Oakdale Sober Grad committee chairperson Naomi Snyder.

Oakdale Sober Grad Night is slated for Friday, May 25 from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. at Sierra View Elementary School, 1323 East J St., Oakdale. Students are allowed in the doors from 10 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.

To put on an event of this size that attracts the students, a lot of food and fun activities are required and that requires donations of time, goods, services, prizes, and cash.

“This year our goal is to raise $28,000, collect 350 donated prizes, and have at least 250 graduates attend – (the) graduating class size is 349,” Snyder said. “We also need at least 68 volunteers to help set-up and staff the event.”

She said that while they’ve received a lot of support from individuals and merchants in the community who’ve donated money, they’re still about $6,000 behind their fundraising goal at this point, separate from ticket sales.

A ticket to the Oakdale Sober Grad Night “Mardi-Gras” themed event is $50 in advance or $60 at the door. Snyder reported that they are on track in collecting sponsorships for tickets for students who need financial assistance to attend the Sober Grad event, with about half of what they need collected so far.

“My goal would be to have 50 sponsored tickets,” she said.

That $50 includes everything for the student at the event – food, drinks, and entertainment. Various local restaurants and grocery stores are stepping in to provide food for the students. Sober Grad entertainment will include DJ/emcee “Rockin’ Rod,” a casino party, SpecOps Laser Tag, a magician/hypnotist, photo booth, pool and ping pong tables, inflatable bounce house and obstacle course, a rock climbing wall, an airbrush tattoo artist, a caricature artist, Xbox Kinect, and more.

Snyder also noted that they won’t turn away any OHS grads at the door, but out-of-area guests are not allowed.

Prize donations and volunteer needs still exist for the event. So far, some of the donated prizes include a river rafting trip, a tent and camping gear, gift cards, small appliances, and cash. Snyder said they especially need more donations of prize items that the newly-graduated students would need as they set out on their own such as microwave ovens, toasters, mini-fridges, school materials, linens, and other things they’d need for their dorm rooms or apartments.

The grads collect tickets when they participate in the various activities and then take those tickets to put in bags by prizes they’d like to win in drawings, which will take place throughout the evening at 15-minute intervals.

“Every student who comes will walk out the door with a prize,” Snyder said.

She added that they are working on trying to obtain one or two tablet computers as grand prize giveaways. The grand prize drawing takes place at 5 a.m.

More volunteers are also needed, especially in those shifts from midnight to 2 a.m. and 2 a.m. to 4 a.m., with about 10 more needed for each shift.

The volunteers do everything from helping to staff at the entrance, encouraging participation, to keeping the kids behaving appropriately, and even checking the parking lot. Help from various members of the community, including friends and family of the new grads is encouraged, Snyder said, noting that parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles are welcome to volunteer, too.

Snyder said that there is one other currently-unfilled want, and that is a person or persons to do special decorative lighting for the event, such as someone with special skills with Christmas light strings. She said that wind is frequently an issue, so they are unable to have decorations such as balloons and streamers outside because they blow away. Having decorative lighting would add some sparkle to the outdoor areas.

To make a donation, please do not mail cash but mail a check payable to Oakdale Sober Grad Night, P.O. Box 333, Oakdale, CA 95361. For tax purposes, the tax ID# is 27-1370284.

There are various levels of donations: Pony $50, Mustang $100, Stallion $250, Gold $500, Platinum $1000, and Double Platinum $2000. Smaller donations are also appreciated.

For more information about donations, contact Naomi Snyder at (209)247-6914. Those who are interested in volunteering at the event may contact committee member Amy Erwin at (209) 604-5070.

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