Stephanie Elliott, Joe Elliott and Apryll PittmanALTON - Stephanie’s Place is hosting a back-to-school event where kids can play carnival games, snack on fair food and get school supplies for the coming year.

From 4–7 p.m. on Aug. 12, kids and parents are invited to the space at 2526 Johnson Street in Alton to kick off the school year right. A bounce house and popsicle truck will round out the night. Stephanie Elliott, an Alton alderwoman who founded the organization with her husband Joe, explained that the event aims to introduce kids to each other and give them what they need for a successful year.

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“My goal is to make sure that the children that come see us are prepared for school, but in the process, they get a big push and something that makes them feel good and something that they can remember,” Elliott said. “Going to give out a lot of smiles on that day, too, because I have a lot of volunteers.”

The organization will also be handing out backpacks and other school supplies. Elliott thanked the Wood River District Baptist Association Women’s Auxiliary, which donated “a truckload” of supplies and “everything that you could need for your backpack.”

Over the next few months, Stephanie’s Place will continue to be a welcoming place for kids to hang out. On Fridays after school, Elliott plans to greet kids with snacks like ice cream floats, snow cones and eventually hot chocolate as temperatures drop. A trunk-or-treat event is planned for October. A few weeks later, the organization will put up a Christmas tree to light up the neighborhood until January; Santa Claus will be there to give out gifts and candy.

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Other fundraisers and fish fries will be planned throughout the year. Stephanie’s Place hopes to take the kids to a Cardinals game and the St. Louis aquarium in the next few months. They also regularly invite firefighters, police officers and Elliott’s fellow aldermen to talk with the group.

Elliott hopes that Stephanie’s Place can help shape the kids as they grow up. In the meantime, events like the back-to-school circus will be a fun night to connect the community and prepare students for the school year.

“I want them to show kindness. I want them to let somebody else know that maybe they can feel better and make somebody else feel better,” Elliott said. “We’re all about the kids. Just trying to raise a new generation so that they know how to be responsible adults. That’s what it’s about — it’s about community.”

To learn more about the organization, upcoming events and how you can get involved, contact Elliott at 618-581-2907 or 618-462-8150. You can also call Apryll Pittman, the organization’s events coordinator, at 618-917-5344.

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