The Court Appointed Special Advocates program in Dodge City wanted to create an event that would emphasize April as National Abuse Prevention month. In 2007, CASA's board of directors and 16 agencies in the area came together to form the Celebration of a Child event at Wright Park. This year, 26 agencies will be set up and ready to offer parents and children a fun and educational day of activities from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Wright Park.


     The Court Appointed Special Advocates program in Dodge City wanted to create an event that would emphasize April as National Abuse Prevention month. In 2007, CASA's board of directors and 16 agencies in the area came together to form the Celebration of a Child event at Wright Park. This year, 26 agencies will be set up and ready to offer parents and children a fun and educational day of activities from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Wright Park.
     "Our main goal is to provide a place where parents can come and get information in a non-threatening environment," executive director of the CASA program Kristin Hines said.
According to Hines, some of the agencies participating will provide activities for children or parenting information. Some will provide both.
     "Parents sometimes need help," Hines said.  "Some are either embarrassed or scared to reach out for it or they don't know where to go or are simply unaware of the different programs in the community.  This is a place where parents can discretely pick up information while their kids play."
Hines said she feels this event has been a great success because she's seen parents who have signed up for parenting classes or have become foster parents through information they gathered or joined Girl Scouts and more. Last year's attendance was estimated at over 300 people.

In with the old and in with the new
     This year, the event welcomes prior year agency participants and new agencies: The Alley, Mothers of Preschoolers, and Counseling & Mediation Center, Inc.
     The event will also include new games like Plinko, book walk, potato sack race and Kansas Highway patrol car accident simulator.
     When asked which activity the kids enjoyed most, Hines said, "The fire truck." And the fire truck is back, along with Dodge City Police Department's T-shirt cannon that shoots shirts into the crowd. Snow cones and many more games, prizes and food will also be available.

Reach Nancy Calderon at (620) 408-9914 or vial e-mail at nancy.calderon@dodgeglobe.com