Last updated: February 16. 2013 10:50PM - 124 Views

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WILKES-BARRE ‚?? The city‚??s District A Fund Committee held its third annual ‚??Party in the Park‚?Ě Saturday at Miner Park, where more than 1,000 residents gathered to enjoy activities, socialize and find out how to participate in community improvement.

The event raised funds to be reinvested in the community as well, according to Co-chair Stephen Barrouk.

‚??It‚??s all about our neighborhood,‚?Ě Barrouk said.

The District A Fund Committee is part of the Luzerne Foundation and focuses on acquiring money to reinvest in South Wilkes-Barre.

He thanked city officials and local business sponsors for providing the venue and activities which were offered at no cost to the residents. About 70 runners raced in a 5K jaunt through the neighborhood, more than 100 youths competed in a three-on-three basketball tournament, children got their faces painted and local community organizations set up displays to meet and greet the public.

Barrouk said the event is the one major fundraiser for the committee and could bring in up to $20,000. All of the money will be put back into the neighborhood, he said. Past dollars were used to repair fences, put new lighting in Miner Park and make repairs to the ball fields, he said.

The event also allowed local residents who want to support the community to find out ways to do so. Many people have expressed a desire to help, but don‚??t know how to go about it, he said. At the park, several local organizations provided information they could use, he added.

He emphasized the event was also designed to get the attention of the children of the neighborhood. The committee wants them to utilize the resources such as Miner Park, he said. Plus they will help foster more involvement from their parents, he said.

‚??We want people to see the vitality of South Wilkes-Barre,‚?Ě Barrouk said.

Shawn Walker, pastor of the neighborhood Baptist Church and co-founder of Building Bridges, a new community group working toward better neighborhoods, said he could see how events like the Party in the Park take steps toward a better quality of life for the families of South Wilkes-Barre.

He lauded the District A committee for their ‚??vision.‚?Ě

‚??A turnaround starts with one step,‚?Ě he said.

Sue Greenfield, event co-chair, said she felt Saturday‚??s event was a ‚??big success.‚?Ě

In three short years, the Party in the Park has taken off, she said.

It gives neighbors a chance to get to know each other, she added. With busy schedules and changing demographics, people don‚??t seem to even know their neighbors. The party is an attempt to build good relationships while recognizing and celebrating the community‚??s diversity.

Greenfield said the business sponsors of the event are the ones who made the party possible.

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