Support the Fort: Help Students Get Back to School
Jul17

Support the Fort: Help Students Get Back to School

It’s just beginning to feel like summer in the Fort but some people are already planning for the new school year. From uniforms, shoes, backpacks, classroom supplies and more, getting kids ready to head back to school can be expensive and a hardship for families. There are groups in the Fort that are preparing supplies and events for the whole family as well as two groups still collecting and asking for your help. Christ Child Society asks for a donation of $50 to provide backpacks for homeless children and children in need through the Foster Care Family Association. The Society’s website says that these backpacks are filled with “age appropriate personal items, school supplies, books and a stuffed animal.” They also state that these backpacks are often the only thing these children own personally. You can donate here. Another group looking for donations is the Salvation Army. They have red Tools for School donation barrels around the city at most Walgreens and other sites through August 2. Their ability to supply K-12 students with school supplies is based on the donations they receive. You can check out their website to find donation spots, a list of things to donate, and how to receive supplies. If you’re ready to celebrate the new school year or need supplies, the Renaissance Pointe YMCA and Fort Wayne UNITED partnered with Fort Wayne sponsors, like BrightPoint, present Summer Celebration: Celebrating the Life of Our Community. The event is July 22 from 11am – 2pm at the Renaissance Pointe YMCA at 2323 Bowser Ave. They’ll have games, giveaways, free school supplies and more. The rain date is July 29 from 11 am – 2 pm. Caring About People, Inc. is throwing a Family Fun Day on Saturday, July 8th. The event will be held in the northwest corner of Lakeside Park from 11 am – 2 pm. They’ll be giving away 300 backpacks to elementary kids only, but kids of all ages are welcome. There will be games, prizes and free lunch. The 3rd Annual Back to School Fatherhood Initiative, hosted by the Fort Wayne Commission on African American Males will be held on August 8th at the McMillan Park Community Center. The center is located at 3901 Abbot St. and the even is held from 10 am – 1 pm. The event will give away 400 backpacks and supplies to father and male figures who take the Fatherhood Initiative Pledge. Wireless Zone at 4201 Coldwater Rd. will be giving away free backpacks filled with supplies from 1- 4pm on Sunday, July 23rd. Their Backpack Giveaway promises to be “good Family Fun.” Check out the...

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LFW Parenting: Tots in the Fort
Feb19

LFW Parenting: Tots in the Fort

Toddlers and a Midwest winter: some winter days, the thought of spending onemoresecond at home with my two [adorable, hilarious, but work-intensive] toddlers makes me want to climb the walls. And then, simultaneously, the very idea of wrestling them into winter coats is enough to discourage all nonessential travel. Everyday winter outings with my toddlers have to pass a “worth the coat” test, which, for me, requires the destination to meet most of the following criteria: Indoors; cheap/ low-investment (there’s a chance we’ll stay for three hours or just fifteen minutes); safe, but physically exhausting; not especially crowded; and tolerant of chaos. If you’re looking for toddler-friendly winter activities, here’s a few stops that appear “worth the coat.” YMCA The YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne boasts impressive amenities for families, from fitness facilities and group fitness classes for adults, to toddler-friendly classes and a great child watch program. Parents can get a break (and a workout) while kids play at child watch, participate in free swim or free play, or let the kids participate in programming specifically designed for toddlers. Check out www.fwymca.org for facilities, class schedules, and activities. Jefferson Pointe play area Offers a great, free place for toddlers and small children to run, climb, and let off steam. Kids and their supervising parent must wear socks. Bring a picnic (and hand sanitizer). Java Mama Fort Wayne Java Mama offers free or low-cost playtime for the kids, quality food and coffee, and a tribe of other parents who have also been awake since 5 a.m. Open Play is free from 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and all day on Saturdays, with the purchase of a drink. There’s also a calendar of toddler-friendly classes, available for a fee. Allen County Public Library Most local branches of the ACPL include a weekday morning story time for babies and toddlers, with some including crafts or songs. More than Gymnastics Offers open gym for children under 5 on the first and third Fridays of every month, from noon-1:30 p.m., for $5 per child. Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Offers programming for toddlers starting at 18 months. There’s a Jack and the Neverland Pirate-themed event with pirate games, craft, and a treat on February 26 from 9-9:45 a.m.  for $17. Register here Artlink Contemporary Gallery Offers Early Art Exploration on February 20, 2016 (and later dates in the Spring) from 10-11:30 a.m,, which provides art projects for children ages 2-5. All of the creativity with no clean up duty! Cost is $10 for Artlink Members, $15 for the general public, with an additional fee of $5 for same-family siblings. Tickets available...

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Renaissance Pointe YMCA, Let’s Give Allen County
Apr28

Renaissance Pointe YMCA, Let’s Give Allen County

Presenting a Q&A with Renaissance Pointe YMCA Executive Director, Tabitha Ervin. Renaissance Pointe YMCA is one of the five non-profits selected for the Let’s Give Allen County campaign on May 6th. Give us a brief history of your organization and its role in our community. The YMCA has had a long history in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The first Y was established in 1858. The Y is one of the nation’s leading non-profits and largest providers of childcare. Here in Fort Wayne, the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne has six full membership facilities (Renaissance Pointe YMCA, Central YMCA, Parkview YMCA, Jorgensen YMCA, Whitley County YMCA and Wells County YMCA). We also have a camp site: Camp Potawotami, a Childcare Services branch and the Youth Services Bureau. We serve over 45,000 members and many more people through our vast programming across the city. Our mission, “to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all” is present in all we do. The Y has helped the community with such programs as: Y Diabetes Prevention Program, Obesity Wellness Network, LiveStrong Cancer Program, Parkview LiVe Healthy Families program and more! What are some ways that the public can get involved with your organization? The Y is very welcoming to volunteers in our programs. There is an application process and then volunteers are trained and placed within their areas of interest. We also accept volunteers for special events as well. Do you have any upcoming events? Healthy Families Week at all local Y’s: April 26-May 2 Splash Pad Opening at Renaissance Pointe: Memorial Day, May 26 World’s Largest Swim Lesson at Renaissance Pointe: Friday, June 20, 11am What are some of the biggest goals for your organization over the next couple of years? Continuing to connect with children, teens, families and Active Older Adults in the community through effective programming. Tell us a little more about the project or campaign that any money raised from Let’s Give Allen County will help to benefit. Team SOS-Team Students of Success is our Teen Program that is focused on leadership, character building, life skills and college and career readiness. The goal of the group is, “to promote and enhance the social skills and academics of young people in order to develop LEADERS who will be a positive force in their communities.” The group also volunteers in the local community to support others. The group meets weekly and works on college applications, has speakers and goes on field trips, all to promote positive growth and change in their...

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