DENHAM SPRINGS — Parents enjoyed a night alone while their children crafted Valentine’s Day cards and played games Friday during Jackets Against Destructive Decisions’ Parents Night Out.
The annual event raises money for the club, which promotes making good decisions, such as avoiding alcohol and drugs, not texting and driving, and not bullying others.
Jessica Bennett didn’t have Valentine’s Day plans but brought her two children, Adam Manuel, 6, and Mia Manuel, 4, to Parents Night Out so they could have fun and create crafts, she said.
Jennifer Lovett said her daughter, Olivia Lovett, also enjoys spending time with friends and making crafts, a staple of the event.
“I like JADD because it’s fun,” Olivia Lovett said.
“It’s just a great program,” Jennifer Lovett said. “They teach good things here and I feel like if you start teaching them (to make good decisions) early, the lessons are more reinforced.”
Lovett, whose husband was working Friday night, said she planned to spend the quiet time shopping for her son, whose birthday was approaching.
The number of participants who attended, however, was down from about 40 during past Parents Night Out events to about 15, JADD sponsor Elise LeBlanc said. LeBlanc said she believed many people had left town for the Mardi Gras holiday.
The proceeds from the event will help fund a teen leadership conference in Texas, LeBlanc said.
Victoria Varnado, 16, a junior at Denham Springs High, said she joined the Just Say No Club as a freshman and now wanted to advance to JADD.
“I’m against making destructive decisions,” Varnado said. “We (JADD) get to let people know about destructive decisions such as drinking, human trafficking and bullying.”
“It’s a positive club and a lot of people say it’s the club to be in to stay out of trouble,” said Leasia Johnson, 15.
Varnado also said the club is great for meeting fellow students she wouldn’t have otherwise met on campus.
“The club has made my friendships grow,” she said.
For Molly McMaster, 10, Parents Night Out gave her an opportunity to “do a lot of crafts.”
Molly crafted a Valentine’s Day card for her mother and played a variety of Valentine-themed games.
In addition to the Valentine’s Day Parents Night Out, the club hosts parents night out events during Halloween, Christmas, Easter and other holidays.
On Feb. 26, Raising Cane’s in Denham Springs will donate part of its proceeds to the club.
Members will host their annual Prom Fashion Show, a variety show and major fundraiser for the club, at 7 p.m. March 16 at the school, 1000 N. Range Ave.
Members also will attend the Mississippi State Students Against Destructive Decisions conference in April, LeBlanc said. The Easter Parents Night Out will be from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. March 27.
Members also have hosted several safe-driving events on campus to help keep the Denham Springs High School student body safe.
“I like being around people with the same goals and ideals as I do,” said Faith Jackson, 17, a senior and JADD member. She said a club like JADD is necessary to help keep students safe.
“I think people listen, and that helps prevent accidents,” Jackson said.