This article was published in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
July 17, 2022
Quinn Ingram grasped a plastic ball and surveyed the table before her to find the perfect hat to wear.
After she watched her father, Garrett, model a green dinosaur head covering, it was 2-year-old Quinn’s turn to don the headgear.
The Ingrams, of Greensburg, were among the throngs of people who turned out Sunday afternoon at Lynch Field for the ParentWISE program of Wesley Family Services Family Fun Day Sundae event to promote social services and local nonprofits’ efforts in the community.
Julie Cawoski, director of Family and Community Support Programs for ParentWISE, said that for the second straight year the pandemic resulted in the relocation of the event to outside from its traditional home inside Nevin Arena. The hope is the event will return to its roots next summer for what would be the 25th anniversary of the group’s Ice Cream Blast.
Ice cream was still part of Sunday’s event. Children received a coupon from the Greensburg Dairy Queen to receive a free sundae, Cawoski said.
The games and crafts booths, which have long been part of the ParentWISE event, remained. ParentWISE sponsors education programs for families to help eliminate child abuse, neglect, and family and community violence in Westmoreland County.
“It’s important to celebrate families. ParentWISE is about sharing time with families, and this allows children to be creative,” Cawoski said. “And it gives parents ideas about things they can do at home to help development of children.”
More than 20 agencies sponsored booths on Sunday, sharing information about services they provide and activities for the kids.
Sarah Opalinski, a prevention specialist with the Westmoreland Drug and Alcohol Commission, helped children to adopt and name “pets” in the form of small stuffed toys.
“It’s all about making good choices,” Opalinski said. “We’re here every year. Addiction doesn’t leave out anyone, and we want to make sure the community knows what we do and has everything it needs.”
The rain held off for most of the afternoon, leaving families time to circulate through all of the activities.
“This is an opportunity to thank the community with free, low-tech fun for children and promote what (services) are available,” Cawoski said