Coalition provides fun in park for children

Kathleen Cunningham

In an effort to bring awareness to the community, one organization is bringing fun to the park.

The Students Coalition Against Child Abuse will soon be holding several events such as “A Day in the Park” and “Take Back the Night.”

The SCACA is working to hold “A Day in the Park for Kids” from 1 to 3 p.m. on April 22 at Cunningham Park.

The event will include activities such as free games, raffle prizes, Frizzie the clown and face painting. But it won’t be all fun and games. Parents will have the opportunity to fingerprint their children, take photos and record other identifying information. The information is intended to be kept by the parents in case their child goes missing so they will have information ready for police, said Lawdawn Hathaway, treasurer of SCACA and senior psychology major.

“The good thing about fingerprinting is in case if your child is abducted or comes up missing, if they stop by, it will include a photo and fingerprints and there’s even a file to take to their dentist to have their dental work marked on there,” said Elizabeth Fry, vice president of SCACA and sophomore criminal justice and juvenile justice major.

“A Day in the Park” will be a collaborative effort between the SCACA, Lafayette House, Children’s Center, CASA for Kids, Inc. and various other organizations.

“Everyone is invited, it doesn’t cost anything, it’s free to everyone we’re really hoping to have some really great time,” Fry said.

Students Coalition Against Child Abuse again will be teaming up with Lafayette House on April 28 for “Take Back the Night.” The event will be held at 7 p.m. on the oval.

“It’s all to make people aware of violence and safety in the evenings, and the different things that go on in their community how to avoid feeling,” Fry said.

She said the night promotes safety for all.

“‘Take Back the Night’ isn’t just about domestic violence, ‘Take Back the Night’ is also about being safe going back to your car safety, child’s safety, women’ safety, men’s safety – it’s just about not being afraid to be out in the evening,” Fry said. “It’s for everybody not just women and children, it’s for everybody.”

The group also plans to help with other community events such as the March of Dimes and the Special Olympics.

“It’s going to be a great year for us and there are a lot of charities that need help anybody that wants to come out and participate this year,” Fry said. “J.J. (Spurlin) had a really great idea that we’re going to waive the membership dues and we’re going to see how many members we can get. We’d like to invite everybody to come out and see what our organization is about that way.”

Membership to the organization will be free. In the past, dues had been $10 each year.

Spurlin, associate professor of criminal justice, said waiving dues is important in giving community members a chance to see it doesn’t cost anything to help the community.

“It’s payment enough to see the smile on a child’s face after you’ve redecorated their room, or you know you’ve raised money for a special needs organization,” he said.