Hope Academy of Van Buren will host its annual Hopeful Heart Dinner and Dance Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Crawford County Department of Emergency Management in Van Buren.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. The dinner by Stirred Catering and Coffee will begin at 6:30 p.m. Live music by N Bye 10 and dance will follow.

Hope Academy is an after-school program for ninth through 12th graders who want to make a positive change in their lives, according to Karen Beckner, director.

She said it is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a fun, safe place for students.

“We rely exclusively upon donations, grants, volunteers, and community support in order to keep our doors open and our mission alive,” said Beckner, who has been teaching students in the River Valley community for 20 years with a focus on elementary education.

Hope Academy has food and snacks on hand and works to create a family atmosphere for students.

“We offer a variety of classes that students can take for free including art, cooking and taekwondo,” Beckner said. “We provide a safe place for students to simply hang out and play pool, ping-pong, or video games.”

Hope Academy is located at the Career Center, which was designed to meet the needs of students for whom traditional education was not working for any number of reasons, both personal and academic. After years of working with students, the Van Buren School District and parents and teachers recognized a need to support students recovering from substance abuse and dependency, and Hope Academy was born.

Hope Academy offers students at the Career Center full-time certified alcohol and drug counselors on site, sobriety support groups, daily peer support team meetings, monthly parent meetings and a Van Buren High School diploma that meets all Arkansas ALE standards.

The Feb. 11 dinner and dance will include a silent auction and door prizes.

Tickets are $30 each and may be purchase at PAC Printers, Van Buren School District Career Center and Stirred Catering and Coffee.

Those wishing to donate time or funds to Hope Academy should contact Beckner at (479) 719-9465.