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Community Church’s ‘Date Nights’ program provides free babysitting to hundreds of Loudoun parents

A ‘date night’ at Community Church in Ashburn. Facebook/Date Nights
Babysitting. It’s the bread and butter of many neighborhood high schoolers and a small respite for parents who haven’t had a night to themselves since who knows when.

However, if the grandparents or other family and friends are unavailable to take on the kids for a night, quality childcare can be expensive, especially in Loudoun. Parents often can’t justify the cost and therefore skip hiring babysitters. They nix plans to go out to see a movie, or out to eat or even stay home for quality quiet time.

Community Church in Ashburn has an answer. During the month of February, on Saturday nights, Community Church is offering “Date Nights” with free babysitting for kids ages 3 months through 5th grade, from 6-10 p.m.

Ashley Horner runs the Date Nights program at the church. “The idea came about when our Pastor, Pastor Charlie, wanted to do something for families with no strings attached. He believes you can strengthen families by strengthening marriages.”

For six years now, during the month of February, Community Church has created a safe place for married couples and single parents to drop off their kids so they can have a night to themselves.

“It takes about 250 volunteers to run a Date Night,” Horner told the Times-Mirror.

And it's not just for church members. “We actually encourage our members not to use it,” says Horner, because the Date Nights mission is simply to serve the families of Loudoun.

Take a quick run through the Date Night website (http://www.datenights.org), Facebook and Twitter pages, and one is presented with a kiddie Lollapalooza. Included are games, crafts, snacks and entertainers like magicians, wildlife experts, even "Beauty and the Beast" -- all under the supervision of the volunteers, a nurse and a security team for the duration of the night.

The "date nights" have 500 slots available and registration opens the Monday before at 8 a.m.

“The events typically sell out, or fill up, in about eight hours,” says Horner.

You can follow Community Church’s Date Nights on Twitter and Facebook @CCdatenights.

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