Friday, July 25, 2014

Festival offers help for families

February 19. 2013 3:52PM
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WILKES-BARRE – From turkey dinner to DJ to BMX stunt bicycle show, it's all free Wednesday at Meyers High School and the nearby Kistler Elementary School parking lot as part of the second annual Harvest Festival.

The festival is a community outreach program spearheaded by two Wilkes-Barre Area School District school psychologists. It is free and open to the public, and will run 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

It's similar to what we did last year, Jennifer Welgosh said. We're continuing with our mission to try and do some great community outreach and to provide families with information n the services available both in our community and in our school district.

Welgosh teamed with Beth Ann Owens last year to help launch FACES, short for Family and Community Enrichment Services.

With $25,000 from the district general fund and broad support from district administrators and staff, the duo started producing monthly flyers focusing on specific issues for district employees, a positive behavior program, a school environment survey and other projects designed to expand and better integrate wellness programs districtwide.

The Harvest Festival is the main event for FACES, giving anyone in the community a chance to meet each other and district personnel as well as gathering representatives from service agencies in the community.

Budget cuts forced a reduction in available turkey dinners. At last year's inaugural event, about 600 dinners were served and there were leftovers, Welgosh said. This year the dinners are available for the first 250 guests.

But the rest of the program remained largely intact, with a wide range of entertainment, snacks and prizes, culminating in something new: An anti-bullying BMX stunt show put on by a group called Perfection on Wheels.

That show starts 7 p.m. in the nearby Kistler Elementary School parking lot, though Welgosh noted the weather may hold sway, and the event could be forced to move indoors.

It should run about 40 minutes, Welgosh said. It may have to go into the gym if needed.

The community agencies available with information on their services include Children's Service Center, Autism Coalition, Wilkes-Barre Fire Department, Wyoming Valley Drug and Alcohol, CEO, CYC, Community Counseling, Building Bridges, Domestic Violence, Victims Resource Center, First Hospital, The Bridge, and Volunteers of America, to name a few.

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