Boys and Girls Club in Van Buren will host Wednesday a Step Up, Speak Out block party.
The local event to increase awareness of child abuse is scheduled for 4:3o to 6:30 p.m. on the club parking lot in the Louis Peer Memorial City Park, according to Cindy Faldon, boys and girls club director.
Faldon said volunteers are needed for the check-in table, trash pickup and to set up and break down the event.
The Van Buren Step Up, Speak Out block party is being held in conjunction with similar events at Spradling, Ballman and Carnell Elementary schools in Fort Smith, on the Town Square in Greenwood and Donald W. Reynolds Community Center in Poteau.
For kids, the rally will have games and activities, educational arts and crafts booths, and informative literature geared toward children. There will be free hot dogs, musical entertainment and give aways. Children will receive free T-shirts, coloring books and bracelets.
Providing booths with games and prizes for the kids will be GFWC Women’s League of Van Buren, Crawford County Optimist Club, Kiwanis Club of Van Buren, BACA and Drums Alive, Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, Van Buren Fire Department and Van Buren Police Department.
A sorority and fraternity from University of Arkansas - Fort Smith will help with volunteers. First Baptist Church of Van Buren will provide tents.
Adults can attend informative educational sessions that will teach them how to better protect children from abuse. There also will be a representative from Hamilton House Child Safety Center to speak to the kids.
Citizens Bank & Trust will grill hot dogs donated by Arkansas Food Bank. GFWC Women’s League of Van Buren and United Way of Fort Smith Area will each donate two bicycles to be be given away as door prizes.
Crawford County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Presley will emcee the event.
Detective Donald Eversole of the Van Buren Police Department will conduct an Internet safety class for adults. The Van Buren Fire Department will bring a fire truck to the event.
Lee Prince, a rapper and hip hop artist will perform. The sound and stage will be provided by Steve Weaver.
The River Valley’s first Step Up, Speak Out event was organized three years ago by Jackie Hamilton of the Hamilton House Child Safety Center and Sam T. Sicard of First National Bank and was held at University of Arkansas - Fort Smith.