By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Thirty years after its creation, the Church After School Association Inc. is holding a birthday party on Thursday.
C.A.S.A. provides after-school care to kindergarten to sixth-grade Tupelo students whose parents work. Its celebration will be in Fairpark from 3 to 6 p.m. The free event is open to the public.
Activities will include inflatables, face painting and hand stampings. There also will be snacks, giveaways and a hamburger supper.
“We wanted to celebrate with the community and recognize 30 years,” said board President Cathy Fitzpatrick. “We’ve gone through some troubles through the years and almost shut down at one point, but the board and parents kept it going. It has really evolved into a wonderful thing for our community, and we want people to know about it and have fun.”
One hundred and three children are currently on C.A.S.A.’s rolls, and more will be added soon. Kindergarten through second-grade students are housed at First United Methodist Church, and third- to sixth-graders are at First Presbyterian Church. There they participate in a Christian devotional, work on homework, play and have access to tutoring.
C.A.S.A. also offers full day care during the summer and certain school holidays.
The organization was founded in October 1981 when the community noticed a need for after-school care for working families. Several churches joined together to offer physical space and financial support.
“We couldn’t be here without the help from churches and United Way and the support we get from them,” Fitzpatrick said. “This is also our way to say thank you.”