By Katie Sobiech
Kara Brown, Sierra Miller and their 3 and 7 year olds thought they were just going to meet Spider Man and get some free school supplies when they attended the Summit for Kids (SFK), but were pleasantly surprised with much more.
This 3rd annual bash for kids on August 18th at the John S. Knight Center brought together many representing local government, health care, schools and community agencies in a way that was inviting to kids.
The free event provided a fun-filled day for the entire family to enjoy –making it one big “educational party”.
Packed with Purpose
The purpose of this yearly event is to connect parents and children with community resources to improve the quality of their lives.
Representatives from many agencies were there to answer questions and hand out information.
The center was filled with everything a child could want or need.
Activities included a Spider-Man and Captain America Meet-n-Greet, crafts and activities, immunizations, free dental services, free back to school physicals, free school supplies, a teen fashion show, entertainment and demonstrations, educational sessions for parents and more.
The building was buzzing, with children everywhere, music and noise.
Thousands showed up throughout the day.
Investing in Akron’s Future
With children being our future; the importance of investing in their lives is priceless.
The Summit on Children Task Force , who sponsored the event, formed in recognition of this – bringing together some of the most powerful voices in Akron to do something to improve the lives of children locally.
The “Force” includes County Executive Russell Pry, Summit County Juvenile Court, Children’s Services, United Way, Akron Public Schools, Fire things First, AMHA, Child Guidance and Family Solutions, ADM Board and the Summit County Educational Service Center.
A Great Day
Delaney Gary, a bubbly 5 year old, said her favorite part of the day was “Making the toolbox” at the Home Depot Exhibit.
Her mother, Amanda Prater-Gary, who brought her 3 kids and a nephew, couldn’t say enough about the event.
“It was really, really good. We got a lot of valuable information. We did a jeopardy game which taught us about health, fitness, alcoholism and really important facts about sexually transmitted diseases. The Health Department had a lot of good information as well,” Prater-Gary said.
Free ID kits and fingerprinting were also available.
“We did fingerprints which will help locate your child if they ever get lost. They made a disc of them speaking, which shows their face and the sound of their voice. That was really valuable. They’ve had a lot of fun today,” Prater-Gary said.
Resources and Exhibits
One sight to see was tiny children barely fitting on massage chairs, getting massages.
Free massages were given thanks to the National Institute of Massotherapy.
Eva Perkinson, Dean of Students, represented the school located in Portage Lakes.
“The kids are getting exposure to massage – which is healthy for everyone. We were expecting to do the parents and the little kids are jumping on!” Perkinson said.
Amy Coen, Student Diet Tech at Akron Children’s Hospital, and representing the University of Akron, had a nutritional display showing appropriate portion sizes of food.
“We’re doing nutrition and have a bunch of handouts on portion sizes. We have this poster here that shows different portions- what your plate should have. Then I have fast food here, different portions,” Coen explained.
Everything about the event was tailored to kids and made healthy habits and education fun – shining a new light on the way they learned about the importance of caring for themselves.
“I loved this. We’ll definitely come back next year – and every year,” Prater-Gary said.
For more information on this event, visit:www.summitforkids.net/!