The Community Partnership for a Safer New Paltz, along with the New Paltz Police Department and PIGLETS (a New Paltz High School senior service learning class), will be hosting the first-ever New Paltz Day on May 15.
The event will be held at the Ulster County Fair Grounds to promote a “fun, alcohol/drug-free day for kids and their families,” according to Project Coordinator Shari Kanner.
Kanner, who is also a part of the Community Partnership for a Safer New Paltz, has been working to find a way to reduce substance abuse among youths. She said that she thinks parent-education is one of the most effective ways of doing so.
According to Kanner, a survey was also conducted in 2010 for grades six through 12 asking questions involving substance abuse, binge drinking, gang-related ideas and more.
New Paltz Day will also be meshing with the third-annual Cops 4 Kids Day, which is a day-long event for children in grades six through 12 to work with local law enforcement officers. The event provides training and demonstrations for the kids, along with Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) instructions.
“You get to see the friendly side of the officer, not just the professional side,” said New Paltz Police Chief Joseph A. Snyder. “You’re learning that the police officer is human.”
Cops 4 Kids Day decided to join forces with the Community Partnership for a Safer New Paltz to have one large event.
“I’m hoping that Cops 4 Kids Day helps get New Paltz Day off and running,” said Snyder. “We had a very good turnout for the Cops 4 Kids Day and [New Paltz Day] will provide an opportunity for parents to walk around and for the gathering of the members of the community.”
This is also the first year that the elementary schools are not receiving the D.A.R.E. program in New York State, according to Kanner.
“They’re saying it’s not as effective as it used to be,” she said. “We are working with the New Paltz Police Department to have other programs for elementary schools.”
The coordinators for New Paltz Day are currently working on putting everything together. There will be a RAD class for kids from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., which participants must preregister for.
From 12 to 5 p.m., Kanner said they hope to have many activities including kickball, flag football, Frisbee, capture the flag, a pie eating contest, zumba, dance performances, vendors, karate and a potato sack race. There will also be entertainment provided by the Participation in Government class from the New Paltz High School. Kanner said she thinks the eighth grade band, along with local high school bands and a DJ, will be performing.
On an educational level, there will be two “Jeopardy” games, one for the parents and one for the kids. They will offer information about substance abuse and other issues.
“We would like to include as much of our community as possible to promote healthy lifestyles for our families,” said Kanner.
Kanner said that although the programs are more geared to children and their parents, college students are welcome as well. She said college students can also be a part of the partnership and helping to coordinate the event, since it is still in its beginning stages.
Kanner said college students can get involved by e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.