The Wayne Township Trustee Office has been hard at work helping assure that all families can enjoy a happy holiday this year. Earlier this month we distributed cheer to over 40 needy families who came to our office to pick up gifts donated through the Allen County Christmas Bureau. It was such fun seeing the smiling faces of the recipients, and my staff enjoyed helping the families out with their packages, bikes and toys as well.
Then on Saturday, December 17, my staff and I will be hosting the Fifth Annual Holiday Celebration from 1 to 5pm at the McMillen Park Community Center, 3901 Abbott Street.
This year’s celebration will feature fun activities like bounce houses, face painting, dancing and floor games, prizes and giveaways, free refreshments and much, much more. One of our special features is a “3 on 3” basketball tournament open to four age groups: elementary school, middle school, high school and adult. For more information on the tournament and to sign up for that 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 might not have had the means to provide their kids with such a great holiday on their own. I knew that something like this would be a benefit, but I was surprised that at our first event we had over 2,000 attendees. Last year we had close to 3,000 folks come through the McMillen Center. It has become clear to me that there is a need in the community for a holiday event like this, and I’m glad we have been able to keep hosting this party for the past five years.
In my efforts to encourage education (as I believe that education is the most important element in fighting poverty) we will again use the Holiday Celebration to begin receiving applications for the 5th annual Recognizing Achievement Scholarship open to Wayne Township graduating high school students. And new this year, we will be offering Encouraging Achievement Awards to students in younger grades as well. This is all part of our effort to promote education in the community. In July of 2016 we were able to award three scholarships to worthy graduating students who were going on to higher education. I’m looking forward this year to being able to encourage younger students to reach for higher educational achievement as well.
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 effort. This is a true collaboration between the Wayne Township Trustee Office, our citizens and the businesses and individuals who help make it happen.
At this festive time of year it warms my heart as the community comes together for yet 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, and I can’t wait to be there and see it happen. I hope to see you there, too.
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