September 21, 2019

Inaugural Family Fun Fest to honor the late Mr. C

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WEST BRANCH — To give tribute to a beloved teacher and raise funds for abused and neglected children, the Northern Michigan Children’s Assessment Center will be hosting its first Family Fun Fest this Saturday.

NMCAC Director Becky Yuncker said there has been a need to bring awareness to Ogemaw County concerning the services the center provides, so NMCAC committee members brainstormed ideas, developing this new event.

The center provides a safe environment where child victims of abuse and neglect can undergo the processes of their cases, such as forensic interviews and medical exams, with people on hand who are specially trained to work with young trauma victims. Yuncker said in these processes, kids’ resiliency and talent are brought out.

“We decided we wanted to celebrate the talent of kids,” Yuncker said.

This idea led to the thought of honoring a man who also brought out kids’ talents.

“Ike (Clelland’s) name came up as far as his passion as a teacher, his passion for kids, his passion for art,” she said. “It seemed like a good fit to honor Ike.”

A Surline Middle School art teacher for 32 years, Clelland, known simply as Mr. C to many, passed away June 20, 2018.

Some of the ways kids’ talents will be displayed include band and choir performances by West Branch-Rose City school students, and an exhibit of art created by both adults and students. Some of the art will be for sale, and some of Clelland’s art will be on display in a silent auction.

Attendees will also be able to participate in a geocache treasure hunt, with five geocache sites located throughout the park. Coordinates will be given at the registration table. At 3 p.m. law enforcement will be on hand giving a canine presentation, and throughout the day food, face painting and games will be available.

Yuncker said all activities are free after the initial entry fee of $10, or $25 per family of four. Entry tickets will be entered into a drawing for three prizes. Tickets may be bought in advance at Forward Conference Center or purchased the day of the event.

After event costs, proceeds will go toward the children’s assessment center.

“We rely heavily on the community to fund those services,” Yuncker said, explaining that the services provided to abused and neglected children and their families are provided at no cost and insurance is not billed.

The event will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 18 at the Tolfree Wellness Park, 2463 S. M-30, West Branch. For more information, call 989-275-7145.

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