Family Expo and Awareness Walk held at Southbend Park to fundraise for Safe Families for Children

Published 3:10 pm Saturday, April 15, 2023

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On Saturday, Troup County Connection Authority held its 26th annual Family Expo and Awareness Walk at Southbend Park.

According to Mandy Hill, executive director of Troup County Connection Authority, this is the organization’s second year holding the event at the park.

“Today has been a great day. Everybody was here and ready to go with their setups. We’re excited to have the addition of the AirEvac coming and several new exhibitors this year,” Hill said. “We’ve already had probably 20 families come through with kids, so it’s been a really good day for families.”

During the event, a walk took place as a fundraiser for Safe Families for Children.

“The money we raise today goes to support Safe Families for child abuse prevention — that’s our purpose today, to get valuable information out to families to help prevent child abuse and to help keep families together to become sustainable and successful in life,” Hill said.

Hill said there were approximately 30 resource organizations at the event. Among those attending were Get Troup Reading, West Georgia Technical College, Bikers Against Child Abuse, Child Advocacy Center, Enrichment Services, Twin Cedars and more.

Brooke Bryant, Safe Families coordinator, said the walk was a great community event for kids and parents.

“Everything’s free and we’re able to just reach out to the community and let them know what resources we have available for them to have help in all areas of life,” Bryant said. “Kids always like to see the fire trucks, police cars and, of course, Kona Ice and The Jungle Bus. It’s always fun to sit in the trucks and have a good time out here.”

Local parent Kim Bray said the event was a good occasion to get out of the house and do something with the kids.

“Having young kids and being an older caregiver, getting opportunities to get out and do things for them and have the chance to learn about resources for you and the kids are a dime a dozen,” Bray said. “I’m glad that this was out here, and we got the chance to participate.”

Lauren Coles said she was happy to participate in something that helps kids in tough situations.

“I can’t imagine what some of these poor kids go through. Any opportunity I can come to show support or be there for them is one I’m always here for,” Coles said.