By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times
Local children and their families will have a unique oportunity to learn about and start some healthy habits at the 11th Children’s Healthy Fun Fair on March 8, sponsored by Liberal Memorial Library, USD 480 and Liberal Parks and Recreation.
“What it is is basically a chance for people in the community to learn about how to get and stay healthy, especially families in the community,” said sponsor Casandra Norin, the children’s librarian at Liberal Memorial Library.
Several agencies will be on hand at the fair to give out information about healthy choices, including the Liberal Fire Department, Southwest Medical Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters and HeadStart.
The fair was originally given by USD 480 and then the library but Diane Hensley, the parent and family liasion for USD 480 said that eventually everyone just came together to make it into one fair.
“The school and the library got together and said ‘we need to do something so that for parents in particular they’ll be able to get all this info and all these materials in one location without having to jump all around the community’,” said Hensley. “It helps all of us in these different agencies because we have learned to collaborate a lot more, and I think the big push almost everywhere is community collaboration.”
Norin says that the fair will be a truly educational experience for those who come through.
“Obviously getting healthy or staying healthy and starting these good habits young is really important so I think it’s important because all of these agencies can help parents and families in some way,” said Norin. “I don’t think there’s a family that could leave and not learn something or not get some sort of idea or better habit ingrained in them.”
The city’s Parks and Recreation department is also participating. They will be providing a Wii system with the popular Just Dance game for the children to play. They’ll also have information available about upcoming events and activities at the recreation center.
Ronna Stump, the activities director with Parks and Recreation, says that it’s important for families to come out and see everything the different attending agencies have to offer.
“I think it’s very important to do for your family so you can see the different organizations in town that can help you with your children’s development,” Stump said. “It’s very important to get the education that you need about what organizations we have in town that maybe can help you out.”
Stump also said that she considers the goal of Saturday’s fair is to get information and materials to families who go through the fair.
“There’s so many different agencies out there you can learn about,” Hensley agreed.
Hensley also added that in the past, the atmosphere for the fair has been rather chaotic, with 600-800 people going through.
Norin, who is helping sponsor this for the first time says that she has only one goal for this year’s event: seeing more attendees and having them have a fun time.
“If families do that, if they come in the same numbers as last year or more, I’ll consider that a success,” she said.