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‘Children’s Day at the Park’ features fall fun

This weekend an event that combines fall-themed activities with important information on health, local non-profits and local programs that are focused on children will take place in downtown Culpeper.

This Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Early Childhood Workgroup, a subcommittee within Healthy Culpeper will host a “Children’s Day at the Park” at Yowell Meadow Park.

Activities will include a moon bounce, crafts, games, pony rides and face painting. The event will also have information tables and activities from a host of local organizations, non-profits and state programs.

“The Children's Day at the Park” event came about after we discussed it in one of our monthly meetings,” said Rachel Douglas, ECW chairperson and program coordinator for Kid Central. “We thought it was a shame that we don't have any events in the community that are specifically geared towards young children now that 'For a Child's Health' is no longer being held each year.

“We decided that we should plan something similar that will provide information and resources for parents and have fun activities for the children. It was initially planned for August but it was rained out, so we decided to give it a fall theme and try again. Nearly all of the local agencies who provide resources for parents and young children will be there.”

Health, education and wellness are essential to all segments of the community whether it's adults, children or senior citizens yet, over the last five years community-based events have become less common as budgets are streamlined.

This reduction in services creates a greater need for organizations, non-profits, businesses and local government to create partnerships.

Not only is the ECW focused on bringing health and wellness resources to local children, but it also fills the need of creating more resources for parents.

“I worked as a Head Start teacher for 11 years and I’m a single parent of three children, so I am very aware of the needs that parents and young children have,” said Douglas. “I am very impressed that this community can come together and reach so many families through events like these and through the work the Early Childhood Workgroup does to bring information and resources to parents and early childhood professionals in the community.”

The Early Childhood Workgroup is one of three subcommittees of Healthy Culpeper, including the Teen Empowerment Coalition, and the Aging Together Adult Committee that work on meeting the needs of our community members. The ECW targets the needs of children from birth to age 5, and their families, according to organizers.

“In July 2002, the Culpeper Department of Human Services established a work group to explore the creation of a formal early childhood initiative in Culpeper County. The impetus for the effort was a desire to better coordinate programs that serve families with young children and a perceived need for additional and enhanced services for this population,” said Denise Walker, Director of Healthy Culpeper.

Members of this group include representatives from Culpeper County Schools, Healthy Culpeper, Head Start, Department of Human Services, Culpeper County Child Care (Kid Central), Rappahannock, Rapidan Community Services Board, Health Department, Culpeper County Library, Infant Toddler Specialist Network, Culpeper Baptist Center, and Amerigroup, according to Walker.

In addition to the event in the park there are also a series of bi-monthly family fun nights funded by the Virginia Department of Social Services Star Quality Initiative held at the Galbreath/Marshall Building on Old Fredericksburg Road.

Fun nights classes on various early childhood and parenting topics are offered free of charge along with a dinner.
“In-kind donations and contributions from local agencies and businesses also help fund the fun nights,” added Douglas. “We hope families will join us this Saturday for what looks to be a great event.”

In the event of rain the event will not be rescheduled.
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