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KidsFest connects families with resources

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Instructors from ATA Martial Arts of Greenville lead a class at KidsFest at Greenville Convention Center on March 23, 2019. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)


By Kelly Fox
For the Daily Reflector

Monday, March 25, 2019

GREENVILLE – The Greenville Convention Center was full of fun and information for local families on  Saturday as the Martin-Pitt Partnership for Children hosted its eighteenth annual KidsFest.

The event attracts thousands of people each year, organizers said. In 2018, nearly 3,000 turned out to learn about family-centric resources in the community.

“KidsFest is a great opportunity for parents, families, and caregivers of young children to connect with different resources that we have in the community to make sure that the families are being successful not only as a whole, but that parents are great doing things that their able to help their children prepare kindergarten”, said Amanda Parmelee, an event organizer from the Martin-Pitt Partnership for Children.

This year,  about 60 vendors from various local groups like the Women, Infant, and Children program — also known as WIC, NC Career Works, Pitt County Schools Nutrition Program, The United Way and many others were on hand to provide information.

While parents educated themselves on local programs, KidsFest offered fun events for the children, including a large magic show and several drum circles where children could be a part of the music. A Time for Science also was there offering free star gazing in its mobile planetarium.

Parmelee said that the event is growing in attendance every year.

“This is probably the most packed that I have seen in the three years I’ve been here,” Parmelee said, “We’re hoping it’s serving a few thousand people… we’ve had, as of right now, probably 1,500 people come through and it’s only halfway through. So, we’re really excited about the turn-out and connecting with the families.”

For the Martin-Pitt Partnership for Children connecting with families is key to build successful children, and by extension, successful communities.

The group focuses on helping families with children birth to age five when 90 percent of a child’s brain development occurs. According to Parmelee, if a child does not receive the proper building blocks for development, it can lead to struggles when he or she begins school.

“People don’t necessarily realize that things like that have an impact later on in life, not only on our children, but on our community,” Parmelee said.

According to Parmelee, a child who struggles and later drops out of school potentially costs the community $260,000 in lost productivity, wages, taxes, and in the need for social programs.

So, events like KidsFest are fun, informative way to get parents the necessary resources to make their children more successful in the future and bring strength to the community, she said.