BENWOOD - Food, fun and safety were the words of the day Saturday afternoon in Benwood as the Ohio Valley Jaycees and A&B Kia Auto sales held their Kid Care ID event in the parking lot at A&B Kia .
"We're proud to support the Ohio Valley Jaycees and the children of our community," said Mike Ferns, owner of A&B Auto Sales. "There is nothing more important than keeping our kids safe and secure."
While the food and fun were available to draw the attention of the youth in attendance, the purpose of the program's events was to educate.
Zackary Freeborough, of Wheeling, gives his “thumbs up” of approval with Wheeling Police Department officer Josh Sanders after Freeborough got a chance to sit on one of the department’s new Spyder motorcycles after receiving his free fingerprinting.
Children were able to receive inkless fingerprint identification cards to be utilized by their parents and law enforcement in case of emergency. They were also able to obtain photo identification cards.
Of course, a quick seat on the Wheeling Police Department's Spyder motorcycle was enough to lure most kids into pressing their tiny fingers on the paper.
The overall theme of the afternoon was to provide safety education to kids and their parents, utilizing a variety of resources and teaching tools from the Wheeling Police and Fire Departments, Windsor Heights Volunteer Fire Department, Ohio and Marshall County Sheriffs officers, the West Virginia DMV Northern Regional Highway Safety Office and the Neighborhood Volunteer Alliance.
The Wheeling FD brought its fire safety educational house and was offering tours and fire safety tips.
More than 200 children were estimated to have been fingerprinted. Lessons in proper child safety seat installation and usage were also given.
And everything was free of charge.
"The kids have their fingerprints taken so parents can give them to first responders in the event that one goes missing," said Jaycees project chairperson Joni Tarbett. "Another popular offering is the car seat inspections and installation training. It's surprising how many families use broken or outdated seats or install them improperly."
Then, there was the fun aspect to the afternoon.
A&B Kia sponsored inflatable rides, including a bounce house and obstacle course.
Jingles the clown made balloon animals and aliens for the kids and the Ohio Valley JayTeens set up carnival-style games for the younger kids, allowing them to test their skills to earn prizes.
Several local businesses provided support for the project. In addition to primary sponsor A and B Kia, other sponsors included Kroger, Riesbeck's, Ziegenfelder Company, Target, McDonald's, Diana's Cakes and Catering and McDonalds.
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