RIPLEY - The Ripley Town Council voted at its regular Thursday meeting on April 12 to pay transportation costs for students attending the post-prom activities that will take place at the Harborcreek YMCA on May 19.
The post-prom activities have been provided for several years by Ripley parents and teachers to provide a safe night of fun activities for students attending the prom. Donna Blackman, who organizes the event with home economics teacher Kathy Monroe, said the activities will take place from midnight to 7 a.m. On the average, between 60 and 70 students attend the post-prom.
"It gives the kids something to do, a safe place to be, and an alternative to be out drinking," Blackman said.
Blackman tries to alternate between the YMCA and Family First park in Summit Township so the students do not become bored with the after-prom. Because Ripley is a small district, students in grades nine through 12 can attend the prom, "so they get to go for four years," she said.
Activities include swimming, basketball, games and usually a jump house that organizers have brought in, Blackman said. She generally has between two to six chaperones who have to keep up with the students throughout the night.
"We get to watch the excitement of them playing," she said. "It's a lot of fun for me to be able to keep up with the kids and know they are out having a fun time."
The post-prom is funded through donations from businesses and persons throughout the area, Blackman said. Letters are sent, not only to Ripley area businesses, but also to neighboring towns.
"Our kids go to Westfield and they go to North East, so that's who we ask for donations from," she said.
While some donate money to cover costs, many businesses donate prizes such as cosmetics, free haircuts, free pizzas, etc., Blackman said.
"Whatever they decide to donate is what we will use," she said. "I make sure every student that goes to the after-prom gets some sort of prize,"
Blackman has been organizing the after-prom since 2003 when the oldest of her three children was going to attend.
"They said, 'You look like a good mom who can do this,'" she said. "I've been doing it ever since ... I'll try to do it as long as I can."