Saturday Oct.16, Organizations gathered around Pioneer Circle to provide social support and resources to local kinship families.
Each fall, the TWU Social Work Department collaborates with Denton CPS, Court Appointed Special Advocates, The Young Lawyers, local businesses, and other TWU departments to organize the kinship fair. The organizations work to create a fun and safe environment where families can enjoy games and activities while receiving some of the resources they need.
“Parents can come, let the kids go, and let the kids have fun,” student assistant and leader of the social work community outreach program Tessa O’Connor. Kinship caretakers are typically grandparents, other relatives, or close family friends who provide and support the children when they are removed from their biological parents because of maltreatment. Kinship care helps ensure children are placed in homes where they may feel familiar and comfortable. These families may not always have adequate resources to support the children.
Before the fair, families met with CPS to discuss their needs. The organizations and volunteers were successful in providing these resources, including diapers, wipes, coats, family photos and other items at no cost to the families.
In addition to the resources provided, the community also collaborated to provide activities for the families. Children could enjoy bounce houses, music, motorcycle rides, explore a fire truck and other activities.
When families arrived, they were greeted by the Welcome Walk, a new addition to this year’s fair. Volunteers lined up to cheer the guests as they entered the fair to help them feel welcome. Families then could have their photos taken and design custom frames to take home. Guests then explored the rest of the fair, taking part in carnival games organized by TWU organizations to win prizes, enjoying a bounce house, and picking up the resources provided to them.
O’Connor said: “My favorite part is the community spirit and the community support. It’s a very vital part to their success.”
In addition to the activities and resources provided to the guests, the Kinship Fair also serves to illustrate all the community support behind the kinship families.