OGDEN -- More than 350 students from Ogden School District will perform at this year's Northern Utah Family Empowerment Expo from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. today at Ben Lomond High School, 1080 9th St.
This is the district's third attempt at a family expo, said district grant administrator Kate Bideaux.
In years past, it has been tried on Saturdays, but after surveying community councils, Parent Teacher Association groups and social networking sites, it was found a weeknight might receive more attendance, Bideaux said.
The expo will feature many of the performing groups from the district but also will focus on four main objectives: money and jobs; community resources; health and wellness; and summer activities for the mind and body.
An emphasis will be placed on summer. Studies show that children living in poverty suffer from lack of opportunities during the summer, so the district is working with several community partners to create many varied summer activities, Bideaux said.
There will be more than 58 vendor booths, and dinner for the first 1,000 people will be provided by Union Grill. Backpacks also will be given to the first 500 families, along with a water bottle and book to promote summer reading.
"We are hoping the backpack and book will get families thinking about what they can do this summer," Bideaux said. "Our goal is to have something for everyone this summer."
Many classes will be offered, ranging from free to more specialized programs presented by outside groups that will have a fee.
The focus for the district's summer offerings will be on both physical and mental activities.
Bideaux is especially excited about a new partnership with Ogden City Recreation that will offer free basketball clinics for boys and girls and football clinics for boys.
She said the city will pay 50 percent of the costs for the clinic, and the district will pick up the rest, so the clinics are free for students.
Partnerships with Weber State University and Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College are still in place to offer robotics, writing and study courses at various times throughout the summer.
Details on all of the classes will be available at the expo and then will be posted online and in fliers that will be sent home with students.
Another big push will be about educating parents, not just about programs for their children, but about programs that will improve parents' lives.
The Department of Workforce Services will teach basics on building a resume, and parents can sign up for classes on financial management, job searching and resume building.
"There will be some 25-minute infomercials and then opportunities to get more information later," Bideaux said. "Our goal is for people to understand that learning change doesn't take place in an evening, but to make them aware of the availability of what's out there."
The district would like to sponsor another family expo in September to get people ready for a strong school year as well.
Bideaux said she has been impressed with the partners in the community that want to step up to help children in the district.
Parents can fill out a registration form for the expo online or can just show up this evening.
Transportation from Madison and Mound Fort will be available to Ben Lomond, but a registration form must be filled out to receive the free transportation.
Those interested can fill out a registration form online at www.ogdensd.org or by calling 801-737-7323. Hard-copy registration forms can also be filled out at any Ogden district school.