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Kidzfest attracts kids and families

Fun, educational street fest held in Joliet

Published: Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013 7:00 a.m. CDT

ROMEOVILLE—Thousands of families attended Kidzfest in downtown Joliet on Saturday, Aug. 3.

They were drawn by di- verse activities and entertainment provided by Lewis University and organizations including the Joliet Public Library, Joliet police and fire departments, Friendly Farms Petting Zoo, Chicagoland Speedway, the Will County Forest Preserve, Rialto Square Theatre, Haunted Trails, Will County Land Use, Gallery 7, Dave Dinaso’s Traveling World of Reptiles, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Taking advantage of beautiful weather, a steady stream of children with their families visited the Lewis University Mini-Campus, where educational and entertaining activities were presented by various Lewis University programs, such as aviation, the sciences, electronic media, nursing, computer science, education, business, art, and athletics.

Brother James Gaffney, FSC, president of Lewis University, had high praise for the Lewis University Kidzfest Committee and the 125 volunteers who presented impressive, educational and entertaining activities for area children at Kidzfest 2013.

“The Lewis Mini-Campus at Kidzfest provided an especially fine showcase for Lewis University’s diverse academic programs, engaging children in marvelous activities and interactions that also were educational,” he said. “Clearly, the families there were very appreciative to the university community for hosting this enjoyable and educational event yearly.”

Faculty and students from the College of Nursing provided essential health care testing, as well as educational play activities, focusing on the community service component at their site and alerting many to health conditions that need to be treated, as well as ways to promote healthy lifestyles.

The College of Education provided free books to kids and read stories about farm animals. Professor Ann O’Brien brought animals from her parents’ farm to introduce to the children.

The College of Business personnel and other volunteers focused on economics, asking the children to guess prices of everyday items to help them realize the reasons that their parents sometimes hesitate before buying certain items.

The College of Arts and Sciences faculty and students provided several booths and activities. Aviation took more about 225 photos of young children in the small airplane. Biology students and faculty assisted more than 800 kids in making a “Play-doh” like substance to take home, and Computer Science again amazed youngsters and their parents with the robots and games.

Curious students were enthralled by the media van. Pottery demonstrations by the Department of Art & Design were also received well.

Cadets in the Lewis ROTC Rolling Thunder Battalion again focused on physical fitness by encouraging youngsters to do push-ups and sit-ups. They also brought along a Hummer for people to see.

Face painting again was a great success, while Athletics activities drew a lot of attention with Flyers giving tips in golf, basketball and volleyball activities. Student athletes were generous in their presence and their patient participation with children of various ages in the sports.

Also, the Lewis University Police Department joined with the Criminal/Social Justice program in providing photo identification cards for youngsters.

Those responsible for organizing and presenting the Kidzfest site include Brother James as chair of the Committee, and co-chairs Dr. Marne Bailey of Joliet (Biology), Carol Wassberg of Alsip (president’s office), Jennifer Manderscheid of Bolingbrook (Oak Brook) and Melanie Sandberg of Lombard (Meetings, Conferences & Events).

Committee members included Jennifer Buss of Plainfield and Ann O’Brien of Joliet (College of Education), Leslie Colonna of Lisle (Art & Design), Dr. Ray Klump of Plainfield and Brother Thomas Dupré, FSC of Romeoville (Mathematics and Computer Science), Dr. James Houlihan of St. Charles (Justice, Law and Public Safety Studies), Lt. Nate Jones (ROTC), Margaret Kientop of Joliet (president’s office) and Greg Kientop of Joliet (Biology), John Kilpatrick of Oswego (Electronic Media), and David Korte of Sheridan (Facilities).

Also assisting on the committee were Keith McGill of Plainfield (Pilot Training), Chief James Montanari of Batavia (Lewis University Police Department), Maureen Moore of LaGrange and Dr. Peggy Rice of Downers Grove (CONHP), Michael Progress of Seneca and Caroline Wood of Braidwood (College of Business), Kathrynne Skonicki of New Lenox (Marketing and Communications), Christopher Stevens of Chicago (Admission), and Keith White of Joliet (Theatre).

Working with the committee were Leigh Bancsy of Plainfield (president’s office), Dr. Jason Keleher of Joliet (Chemistry), as well as Dr. Mona LaMontagne of Joliet and Anne Koleff of Maple Park (Marketing and Communications).

Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Laallian tradition offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population.

Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.

Visit www.lewisu.edu for further information.

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