‘Families need to know they’re not alone’: Upcoming fair offers resources, fun for Lawrence families

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Lawrence families will have the opportunity to learn more about resources for children and families in the community at an upcoming Early Childhood Family Resource Fair.

The event is hosted by the Lawrence Kindergarten Transition Team, a group of “early childhood stakeholders in Lawrence” who came together in 2020 to “support children and families as they make the transition from an early childhood education environment” to Lawrence Public Schools, said Erin Lawrence, kindergarten ambassador and community engagement coordinator for the Community Children’s Center. 

The fair, which is free to attend, will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 30, at the Kennedy Early Childhood Center, 1605 Davis Road. It will be outdoors, weather permitting.

The event is “the culmination of our year-long focus on increasing collaborative efforts specific to children entering kindergarten in Lawrence” and an “outstanding showcase” of the resources available for families in Douglas County, Lawrence said in an email.

“Raising and educating young children is an ever-changing journey, and families need to know that they are not alone,” she said.

More than 40 organizations are listed as event participants on the website, including Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, USD 497 Early Childhood, Just Food and Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health.

“Our community is a gold mine of resources and support for families with young children, and we cannot underestimate the lasting-impact of intentional investment during the early childhood years,” Lawrence said.

Emma Fotovich, USD 497 / Contributed photo Children play with toy animals at the Kennedy Early Childhood Center.

Along with free family entertainment like a nine-hole mini golf course and the Lawrence Public Library’s outreach truck, the fair offers health care. Pediatric dental screenings and fluoride varnishes will be provided by the Heartland Community Health Center, and COVID vaccines from Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health will also be available. 

Donations will also be accepted at the event. The website calls for maternity and clothing for kids from birth to age 5 in order to “establish a community clothing closet for early childhood.” The same can be said for gently used board books: The website asks for donations in an effort to establish a board book library and reading nook.

“Our littlest learners continue to need energy and effort put into their care and education,” according to an email announcing the event. “Our community is working tirelessly on multiple projects to increase options and quality in early childhood programming for children and families.”

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Emma Bascom (she/her) reported for The Lawrence Times from December 2021 through May 2022. Read more of her work for the Times here.

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