America’s Promise in Amarillo, in conjunction with the third annual KidsFest helped students with back-to-school needs. The free event offered a variety of activities Saturday, August 18, 2007 at Thompson Park, in Amarillo from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. KidsFest focuses on the five areas of America’s Promise: Ongoing relationships with caring adults – parents, mentors, tutors, or coaches; Safe places with structured activities during non-school hours; Healthy start and future; Marketable skills through effective education; and Opportunities to give back through community services. Community agencies and organizations set up booths to sign up children for after-school activities and clubs; fun stations including inflatable slide, face painting, bouncer, and blacktop hockey; food venders; school supplies; and live entertainment.
Fun, food, games, entertainment, school supplies, immunizations, and hands-on activities were offered free to students of the Amarillo area. This event also offered the opportunity for 36 sponsors and over 60 organization booths to reach many families at one time, recruit volunteers, and inform the community about their business or service. 290 immunization shots were given; Wal-Mart handed out over $14,000 in school supplies; other vendors contributed over 5,000 hot dogs, 1,000 sandwiches, ice cream sandwiches and sodas as well as live music satiated the crowd while waiting in lines.
Local Outreach Coordinator Cunningham and volunteer Adonna Ballard talked with a record-setting crowd of 12,000 students and distributed bicycle safety information to 500 in the first hour. Parents and grandparents showed their Interest and concern for the Safe Routes to School Program. Questions such as “What do you teach”, “How can I get this into my child’s school”, and “How far away do you go” were answered many times. Upcoming events such as the Old Tascosa Classic in downtown Amarillo, and Kohl’s Cares for Kids at Northwest Texas Hospital were suggested for more information on bicycle access, safety, and education, as well the Old Tascosa Cycling Club and of course the Texas Bicycle Coalition.