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An August of comic art and skate park preparation

Todos Juntos provides local youth a weekly summer program culminating in a pizza party

Combining comic art and skate park preparation, Todos Juntos' summer program for local youth kicks off Monday, Aug. 1.

Middle and high school-aged students from Eagle Creek and Estacada are invited to free weekly activities at Wade Park from 1-4 p.m. every Monday in August.

Each week, the activities rotate between creating comic art and designing a temporary painted sign for Estacada's future skate park.

Todos Juntos will supply art materials and snacks.

According to Raynell Flohr, site coordinator for Todos Juntos in Estacada, each week youth participate, they will receive tickets to enter in a drawing for a skateboard.

'It gives kids an opportunity to buy ownership in the new skate park,' Flohr said. 'We're encouraging good use of the park, to not leave an opportunity for bad elements.'

As for the comic art and illustration, youth will create their own art under the tutelage of Eric Thompson, a Reynolds High School teacher and professional cartoonist.

Flohr recalled a time she asked a group of youth what they were doing with their summer. They responded they were walking around, and she thought 'it was a shame.'

The Todos Juntos summer program is intended to curb aimless summer wandering, keeping kids creative and busy during their months off from school.

Flohr spoke about the significance of local adults investing in children's lives as opposed to giving them money to spend in their summer free time.

'They know they're cared for,' Flohr said about youth participating in programs with strong adult involvement.

Four adults will oversee the August program, and the Estacada Parks and Recreation department will provide guidance for tending the skate park grounds.

The program concludes at the end of August with a pizza party featuring a special guest. At this point, the painted temporary sign will go up and leaders will draw from the tickets for the skateboard winner.

Running programs in Canby, Estacada, Milwaukie, Molalla and Sandy, Todos Juntos is a resource for youth that partners with schools, law enforcements, the Clackamas County juvenile department and others.

Its services are available in English and Spanish, with a 'Boys Council,' 'Girls Circle,' special projects and recreation groups -- including LEGO robotics, soccer and Latin folkloric dance.

Beyond programs for youth, Todos Juntos provides parenting classes for families.

For more information about registration, call Yesenia Avalos at 503-421-8881. For further details, call Eric Thompson at 503-853-6815.