Riverbender.com Community Center announces the new Dragonfly Family Café, opening on the second floor of what has been primarily known as a teen center.

Owner John Hentrich opened the doors of the Riverbender.com Community Center in 2010 with the help of many volunteers and local donors. The organization is now adding to its mission of serving area youth by including more for younger children and younger families.  

Hentrich encouraged the idea of a family cafe after local moms DeeDee Altenbernd and Lara Talsky presented him with their vision in June.  Alton is known for its beautiful parks and outdoor play spaces, but Altenbernd and Talsky felt it is lacking indoor play spaces.  Talsky’s belief is that “children are people too whose needs are quite different from adults.  We wanted a place where children are not just tolerated but encouraged to be themselves, while allowing adults to relax and socialize with each other.  This can be challenging with young children at a typical restaurant.  Alton needed something special and unique for families.”  Altenbernd desired a center where she could spend quality time with her husband or girlfriends while her only child socialized with other children in a safe, nuturing atmosphere.  In August, Altenbernd was hired as Development Director for the Riverbender.com Communiter Center while Talsky volunteers as Creative Director for the family Cafe.

Alton residents should prepare themselves for the new Dragonfly Family Café, one of the only  family cafés in Illinois south of Chicago. The mission of the Dragonfly Family Café is to bring the community together through the family dining experience. “We have created an atmosphere that is safe and encouraging for children and also provides a dining experience for families within the Riverbender.com Community Center” states Hentrich.  Our Center is educational and lots of fun for the entire family. We have served the teenage population for over 4 years and now we are inviting them to bring the entire family by providing a space complete with a two story playhouse, games, train tables, climbing tree, dress-up area, art center, free wifi, and more. The Dragonfly Family Cafe is truly as cool as it sounds!  Grab a bite, a drink, or just a moment by yourself, while the children play and explore.

Chef Jason Harrison has been chosen to open the student-operated cafe in partnership with Riverbender.com Community Center and mentor students as part of a new internship program.  Students’ experience will include ordering, accounting, inventory, cooking, menu and logo creation. Chef Harrison believes “that being successful goes further than the four walls of the Center.  My goal for the internship program is to create a positive trajectory which allows the youth to be creative in the cafe as well as the Center”  The menu will offer healthy choices appealing to all ages at affordable prices.

The Riverbender.com Community Center will host a fall festival on Saturday, October 4th from 11am to 4pm and reveal the Dragonfly room.  The official opening of the café will be Friday, October 10th.  Dinner will be offered every Friday during the center’s Open Play from 5pm to 10pm.

In the near future, the Dragonfly Cafe will host programs targeting younger children such as storytimes, puppet shows, and Mommy and Me activity classes.

The Riverbender.com community Center is the ideal location to host parties and groups of all shapes and sizes such as school field trips, church events, moms groups, & homeschooling families. The Dragonfly Family Cafe  is the perfect venue to host your next shower or birthday party.

Visit http://riverbender.com/communitycenter  for more information on The Riverbender.com Community Center or to make an event reservation.

Logo contest winner: Alton High sophomore Zoe Mack

Tree muralist: Alton High senior Malinda Ulery

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