|By Katelyn Gendron|
Reminder Assistant Editor
SOUTHWICK The Southwick, Granville and Tolland Community Partnership is on a mission to connect remote communities to a nucleus of child and family programming, according to Community Partnership Coordinator Janet Gravel.
In an interview with Reminder Publications, she explained that isolated communities such as Southwick, Granville and Tolland lack large downtowns and access to services vital to the growth and development of those communities' families and youth.
In conjunction with over two dozen service providers, the Community Partnership will be hosting a Free Kids Fair on April 30 from 6 8 p.m. at the Southwick Recreation Center.
"It is vital to bring all [the service providers] to the area . people don't realize that these services are available to them," Gravel explained.
She said it is important for families to note that even if a service provider is not located in Southwick, Tolland or Granville, many of them service those communities as part of their "catchment" area. Services in attendance will be the Salvation Army, the Southwick Police Department, the Southwick Fire Department, the Southwick Public Library, the Granville Public Library, the Department of Social Services (DSS), Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the Wilderness Experience, the Boys and Girls Club and the Greater Southwick Family Support Coalition.
"We're focusing more on education," Kristen Smith, coordinator of the Greater Southwick Family Support Coalition, said of the coalitions participation in the Kids Fair. She noted the need for families in this area to become more aware of the various affordable health and safety, nutrition, food and fuel assistance, summer camps and daycare programs and services available to them.
Gravel explained that the police department focuses on various aspects of safety education, while the fire department will bring their equipment to the fair to expose children to it and alleviate their fears.
Gravel said that while parents and guardians are moving to each information booth, children will have the opportunity to participate in various games and activities as well as win door prizes.
Smith noted that the Coalition is also sponsoring an interactive children's DJ for the event. Food and refreshments will also be provided.
Gravel added that the only request for those in attendance is to bring donations for the Southwick Food Bank.
The Southwick, Granville and Tolland Community Partnership is sponsored by grant awarded by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.
For more information about Community Partnership go to www.eec.state.ma.us.
For more information about the Greater Southwick Family Support Coalition go to www.southwickcoalition.org or call 569-3456.