Families are invited to a back-to-school celebration at the Commercial Club Park in Dyersville Saturday, Sept. 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Entertainment and activities during the event have been arranged by the Dyersville Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the James Kennedy Public Library, in partnership with many area organizations.

“With field trips being canceled and families staying home over the past year, children have missed out on so many fun activities like visiting Swiss Valley Nature Center and the Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium,” said Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Coordinator Jessica Pape, naming two participants in the upcoming event. “This

celebration is a chance for them to have those experiences and participate in a positive, community-wide coming together in a safe, outdoor setting.”

In addition to the River Museum and Nature Center, which will bring animals for children to learn about, families will get to interact with emergency responders, who will bring a police car and a fire truck to the event. Darby the dog, a popular school visitor who helps kids with reading, will also be in attendance. There will be bounce houses and free books for children to add to their home libraries.

“We always find ways to give out books, because we understand the importance of early literacy,” said Pape. The campaign, an initiative of the Dyersville Area Community Foundation, focuses on three predictors of future success: school attendance, summer learning, and meeting third-grade reading benchmarks. Pape leads the campaign’s local efforts through building community partnerships, planning events and providing education about the importance of school.

The back-to-school celebration this month is different from those in the past, which have been held before the start of the school year to help provide school supplies. This year, St. Mark Youth Enrichment extended its school supply program to all Dyersville families, taking care of that need. Through a strong relationship with the public library, which has

its own annual school kickoff, the event continues in a new format.

Everyone is invited. “This celebration is for the whole community to come together, celebrate school and learning, and see what’s available in the community,” said Pape.

The Dyersville Area Community Foundation serves Dyersville, Earlville, Farley, Luxemburg, New Vienna, Petersburg and Worthington. For more information, visit dbqfoundation.org/dacf or call 319-269-6432.