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Wake Forest holds 'KidsFest' for children with disabilities

March 26, 2007

Wake Forest University will host KidsFest 2007, the second annual spring festival for local children with disabilities, from 2 – 5 p.m. April 15.

More than 300 children from The Children’s Center for the Physically Disabled and The Special Children’s School have been invited to the outdoor event on the university’s Manchester Plaza. The event will feature age- and ability-appropriate activities for the children and their families. The event is not open to the public.

Due to the success of KidsFest 2006, organizers this year have also invited 150 children and their families from several other groups that provide services to children with disabilities, including the Piedmont Down Syndrome Support Network, Amos Cottage and social workers with Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

More than 20 Wake Forest student organizations will sponsor activity booths such as oversized lawn bowling, musical chairs, face painting, fishing, storytelling and an Easter egg obstacle course. The Demon Deacon, Wally the Warthog, Ronald McDonald, the Chick-Fil-A cow and the North Carolina School of the Arts "Academy of Clowns” will make appearances at the festival. Six giant, inflatable activities, including a wheelchair-accessible inflatable with a flat bottom onto which a wheelchair can roll, will be featured this year. Wake Forest student volunteers will escort children through activities on Manchester Plaza.

KidsFest was created by the student group HOPE (Helping to Overcome Physical Expectations).  HOPE is a volunteer liaison organization and mentoring program between Wake Forest students and students at The Children’s Center and the Special Children’s School. Student volunteers provide weekly one-on-one mentoring for children to promote the academic, social and emotional development of each child.       

"KidsFest is HOPE’s outlet to the greater Wake Forest and Winston-Salem communities through a unique service event for children with disabilities,” said Wake Forest junior Erica Lunsford, HOPE president and KidsFest 2007 planning committee chair.

The event greatly benefits not only the children but all those involved, said Jonathan Barry, HOPE Founder and founding KidsFest chair.   “First, KidsFest provides Wake Forest students a unique service event with special needs children. Second, KidsFest provides special needs children and their families within the greater Winston-Salem area a special day tailored entirely to their enjoyment,” Barry said.

The Children’s Center for the Physically Disabled is a premier service provider and educational program in Winston-Salem for children with orthopedic physical disabilities and/or other long-term chronic health impairments.

The Special Children’s School is a private, non-profit developmental day school located in Winston-Salem that serves children with and without special needs.

KidsFest coincides with the beginning of National Volunteer Week.

Corporate sponsors for KidsFest include Union Grove Lumber and Mid-South Building Supply.

Note: This is a community service event for children from the Children’s Center for the Physically Disabled, the Special Children’s School and several other invited participants.  It is NOT open to the general public.  All media representatives must check in at the media table located near Reynolda Hall, along the Benson University Center parking circle, to find out which children cannot be photographed. Interviews with KidsFest organizers and participating agency representatives can be arranged through the News Service.

Press Contacts:

Cheryl Walker
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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