Event aims to bring community togetherWritten by Autumn Lee | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In an effort to unite the community through a day packed with an assortment of activities, the Eleanor M. Kahle Senior Center will host a free all-day event, “Bringing the Community Back Together,” from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 7 at Willys Park.
Russ Simpson, chairman for the event, said it is an opportunity to get the community involved, and is in response to “some of the problems that have occurred in North and South Toledo,” especially those that have recently happened within blocks of the center.
Executive Director of Kahle Senior Center Cathy McVicker added they wanted to “help build more of a sense of community” through the event.
“The idea of neighborliness has dwindled over the years,” she said. “…With more of a sense of community, it can alleviate some of the negativity out there.”
Simpson, who regarded the upcoming event as “a day of fun,” said it will feature several activities designed to attract those from ages 2 and older with featured guest music groups to reach a variety of people.
Performances from local groups will include America’s PRIDE Drug Prevention Team of Toledo at 10 a.m., the Dixie Cats Jazz Band at 1:30 p.m. and a country rock band — The Wheat Kings with Sara —beginning at 4 p.m. to wrap up the celebration.
Founded in 1987, America’s PRIDE is part of a national organization that is the oldest of its kind in the United States, said Bill Geha, co-director of America’s PRIDE and drug counselor for Sylvania Schools.
Geha said the local team, which is comprised of about 30 members from nine high schools and three universities, has traveled across the United States and has visited the White House three times and performed for three presidents, as well as performed for audiences numbering a single homeless man to 100,000 people.
America’s PRIDE has worked with the Navajos in New Mexico and the Cree in Manitoba, Canada, and has done consulting work for a drug prevention team called “Teen X” in Great Britain, Geha said. Furthermore, they have performed concerts to raise money for tsunami victims in collaboration with the Red Cross and recently performed at the World Drug Conference in Charleston, W. Va.
Others who have committed to participate in the event include the Toledo Police Dept.’s mounted patrol and representatives who will fingerprint schoolchildren. Along with the Toledo Children’s Hospital, the TPD will be inspecting car seats and educating individuals on their proper use.
Others who will contribute are the Toledo Fire Dept. for a safety demonstration, ProMedica, who will have a helicopter and a mobile Intensive Care Unit present, the Toledo Area Humane Society with dogs and cats available for adoption and various non-profit and service organizations. West Toledo Health Care will also provide first aid, water, blood pressure and blood sugar tests.
Starting at noon, entries will be accepted for a pie-baking contest, spearheaded by Toledo City Councilwoman Wilma Brown, with judging to occur in the afternoon. Papa Murphy’s will also be on hand offering pizza samples, as well as the first 300 attendees of the event will receive a free hotdog, popcorn and beverage.
For younger children, the New Life Community Church will sponsor and run a “Kids Karnival” featuring old-fashioned carnival games.
Cindy Spohn, a member of New Life Community Church, explained they have their Wednesday services at the Kahle Senior Center, and have helped the seniors with various fund-raisers in the past.
For this event, Spohn said they wanted to provide something for the children to do.
“We wanted to show kids how you can love without expecting something in return through Jesus’ love,” she said.
Area mascots will also make an appearance for younger attendees’ enjoyment including Ronald McDonald at 11 a.m. followed by T.C. Hops (the Toledo Children’s Hospital mascot) and either “Muddy” or “Muddonna,” representing the Toledo Mud Hens in the afternoon.
The event is funded in part by the Lucas County Commission and the UAW Region 2B. For more information, contact the Kahle Senior Center at (419) 476-2745.