Through the effort and donations of local churches, government and businesses, area children enjoyed activities, games, food and they also took home supplies for the upcoming school year.
Wisely stationed in a shady area of the park, several local businesses and organizations had booths set up to give out school supplies and to share information with the community. They included, the Polk Meth Alliance, Home Depot, Polk’s Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Peek-A-Boo Day Care, which provided face painting for children, and the HON Company, which held a raffle for a student desk.
CASA was on hand to spread the word about needing volunteers to advocate for children in foster care. CASA representatives said there are over 200 children in Polk County in foster care, and only 30 to 40% of those children are being served at this time. A volunteer training session will begin Sept. 13.
Home Depot was also on hand to give a kid’s workshop. The home improvement superstore holds these workshops on the first Saturday of every month at the store, but ventured out in the community for Summerfest.
Jay Green from the online radio station The Praise House was broadcasting live from the event.
Summerfest is actually two events that merged five years ago. The Youth Summerfest event began in 1998 by Pastor Joy Frederick as a fun day for local youth. Through the years, local businesses and churches became involved by donating food and supplies.
Pastor Kenneth Brown started the Church Olympics in 1997. Brown said he started the event for kids that did not get the opportunity to play sports or get trophies at school. The olympics continue to have events for children as young as five all the way to senior citizens. As any proper olympic games should, winners receive gold, silver and bronze medals for placing in the events.
Brown and Frederick said they shared a main goal in each of their events, and therefore it made a lot of sense to come together.
“We are trying to bring people together and bring people to Christ,” Brown said. Frederick added they hope to bring the youth in the entire county together, not just in Cedartown.
Tallatoona HRDC, a non-profit organization that assists low income families, also partnered with Frederick and Brown this year. “We wanted to merge with Joy and Kenneth so we could get out and help people in this community,” said Tara Payne.
All of the organizers wished to extend appreciation to all of the churches, buisinesses and local government help they received in putting on the event.
For Frederick, the event is about giving children the tools they need to be successful in school.
“We wanted to do this for the kids that don’t have a lot, because they may become violent or steal or have low self esteem,” she said. “When the children have low self esteem, they don’t want to go to school. We want them to feel good about themselves and to encourage them to stay in school.”
Frederick also said she is pleased that this event has continued to succeed in bringing people together.
“It is so great seeing all these people come together, white, black and Hispanic,” she said. “I think God is smiling at us right now.”