Getting back outdoors

Published 7:44 am Sunday, July 4, 2021

On Wednesday and Thursday, Etna Park was filled with children playing as part of Ironton aLive’s Parks Alive program along with other groups including Impact Prevention, The Ohio State University Extension Office and community sponsors who supplied treats like pizza, cupcakes, chips, popcorn and Kona Ice.

The event was a combination of both the Parks aLive and Faith and Fun Fest.

The kids played games, did exercises to get items like sunglasses or books and had a chance to play a game of giant Jenga blocks with deputies from the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office.

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Eddie Neel, the public information officer for Impact Prevention, said the groups all partnered up to give kids a chance to do some healthy stuff in the outdoors.

“We are just trying to promote kids getting outside and reconnecting and having some positive interactions,” he said, adding that it was important after a pandemic where people couldn’t get together for so long. “Impact Prevention is a mental health, drug prevention agency and through our Ohio Healthy survey, we have identified health and anxiety as a huge issue in our area. And these events we are having are trying to promote positivity and to reduce depression and anxiety.”

And the children had fun as they ran around the park.

“Not only are the kids having fun, the adults are also having fun. It’s just been a blast,” Neel said. “We’ve had different events throughout the day. The kids have enjoyed the parachute. It’s just been great to see the community partner together and help out the youth of our community.”

Parks aLive will have similar events in Coal Grove and South Point sometime this summer. Everyone will be welcome to attend.