The Jamestown Family Resource Center wants poker-faced community members to lay their cards out on the table for a Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament fundraiser Saturday on the train at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park.
Mark Dyken, Jamestown Family Resource Center director and foster youth liaison for Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Office, said that only about 10 tickets remain for the 50-person event, which will pit local card players against one another for the benefit of the center.
“It’s all about supporting students and their families,” Dyken said, noting that the center runs a small food bank, a clothing closet, and offers a range of student and family counseling services.
“We do a bunch of different things for student and family support in there,” he said.
The money raised will be directed to the center’s general fund and will provide funding to the various services and programs throughout the upcoming school year.
Everyone who purchases a ticket will have the opportunity to participate in the tournament, Dyken said, with the finalists receiving $300 dollars and a winner’s bracelet for first place, $200 for second, and $100 for third.
A ticket for entry costs $100 and includes a T-shirt with the poster art of the event on it.
The Hold ’em or Fold ’em Texas hold ’em poker tournament will be held from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday. Dealing will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m., and food and drinks will be served.
Live music from “old hobo Bear Dyken” will also be featured at the event.
The Jamestown Family Resource Center is the last of the school-based family resource centers in the county, Dyken said, since grant money from the California Department of Education Healthy Start program dried up several years ago.
“Our effort has been sustained through grant writing and private donations and things like that,” he said. “I really think every school should have a family resources center, but I’m really proud to be able to sustain it in really difficult financial times.”
Dyken has worked in the Jamestown School District for 14 years and, throughout his career, he has identified that the vast majority of Jamestown students come from families that are financially insecure.
The Jamestown School District provides many of their students with a reduced lunch rate, and their summer “Stuff the Bus” fundraiser program was successful in providing more than 260 backpacks filled with school supplies to students.
Dyken said he hopes the success of Saturday’s event will mean that the poker fundraiser can return annually. And maybe, at a later date, actually happen while the train is moving on the rails.
For now, he said, it’s meant to just have “a fun evening with people.”
“This are iconic train cars that have been in movies and TV shows. It is a cool part of Jamestown history, and its current, too. They are there right now.”