Big night for kids’ mental health

by Bob Grawey

Staff writer

STARS For Children’s Mental Health and District 728 Community Education are teaming up to host Family Fun Night Friday, May 6 from 5 to 8 p.m.

The event at Handke Center is a way to bring awareness to children’s mental health issues, while providing a night of fun for kids and their families.

Activities include carnival games, an indoor obstacle course, face painting and tattoos.

Kids from preschool to elementary grades will also get to go in bounce houses, have a try at crafts and coloring, and get the chance to win prizes.

The night’s big event takes place from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Handke gym as Fidgety Fairy Tales 3 presents three new plays that depict children’s mental health disorders in a positive light.

CinderEdward is about bipolar disorders, while Goldilocks depicts obsessive compulsive disorders and The Boy Who Cried Wolf portrays Tourette syndrome.

People will also have the opportunity to learn more during a 10-minute question-and-answer period following the performances.

Scripts have been reviewed by mental health experts and have received positive reviews.

An outdoor activity planned for the fun-filled night is the nature playground where children are encouraged to interact with things in nature.

STARS communications and training director Tara Freed says, “Research shows that when children have regular contact with nature, they learn and grow better; physically, developmentally and in relationship to the natural world.”

Freed says there will also be a play therapy room, and an Early Childhood and Family Education art room.

Another planned activity is the family cooking room in which kids and their parents can learn more about making fun, healthy snacks such as a face using graham crackers, strawberries and marshmallows.

The entire event is free, including hot dogs, yogurt, carrot sticks and pretzels.

Community resource booths will also offer information on area resources, services and supports for families of children with mental health disorders.


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