With the Friday after Thanksgiving—yes Black Friday—we all start thinking about the people on our holiday shopping lists. Here at the Wayne Township Trustee Office we have been busy too, amassing prizes and gifts for the children who will be joining us for our Holiday Celebration. Our seventh annual event will be held, once again, at the McMillen Park Community Center at 3901 Abbott Street on Saturday, December 15, from 1:00 to 5:00 PM. Besides giving out prizes and gifts to our community’s kids, this year’s party will feature fun activities like games, face-painting, bounce houses, a petting zoo, entertainment by local celebrities and much, much more. Once again one of our special features will be a “3-on-3” basketball tournament open to four age groups: elementary school, middle school, high school and adult. (For more information or to sign up for the basketball competition or just for further tournament information you can contact Mike Ayers at 260-479-8588.)
I am always very excited about our Holiday Celebration. We started holding this free party in 2012 as a way of giving some holiday cheer to families who maybe didn’t have the means to provide their kids with such a great holiday on their own. I expected the community would appreciate our efforts, but I was surprised that at our first event we had over 2,000 attendees. The turnout has remained high each of the last six years, and it is clear to me that there is a need in the community for an event like this.
In early 2013 we began awarding the “Recognizing Achievement Scholarship” to graduating high school students as part of our effort to promote education in the community. Later that year, at the 2013 Holiday Celebration we made “Education” our theme. At the party that year we provided not only free food, fun games, toys and bicycles but we gave out many educational gifts like books, computer notepads and more. We also announced that once again the RAS would be awarded to students showing the most improvement in their academic performance in the upcoming semester.
Two years ago at the Holiday Celebration we announced and started taking applications for the RAS and for a new educational incentive for younger students, the Academic Encouragement Award. In July of 2018 we were able to award eleven AEA scholars and four Recognizing Achievement Scholarships to worthy graduating students who were going on to higher education.
We use no tax dollars to hold the Holiday Celebration or for the scholarships, so as our event grows from year to year my staff puts in greater effort toward raising the money, planning the events, putting on a great party and awarding young students. The whole community participates as local businesses and individuals contribute money and in-kind donations toward the party and toward the scholarships. This is a true collaboration between the Wayne Township Trustee Office, our citizens and the businesses and individuals who help make it happen.
While the economy is improving and more people are finding jobs, I would like to invite all who are able to consider donating toward our Holiday Celebration, making a happy holiday for the children of Wayne Township. You can do that by contacting us at (260) 449-7000 extension 328.
At this festive time of year it warms my heart as the community comes together for another afternoon of holiday fun with games, prizes, food and educational activities…all for free. The joy on the faces of young and old alike is priceless; come and see for yourself!
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