By Melissa Klaric
Herald Staff Writer
New Light Christian Education Center celebrated back to school by holding a fair on Friday chock full of fun and free stuff.
For the second year, Morrison Street in Sharon was blocked off and the center at the corner of Cedar Avenue turned into a fun center with bouncers, a dunking booth, music and dancing, family games, free book bags and school supplies, and – best of all – free food.
“The kids couldn’t wait to dunk Mr. Michael (Jackson),” April Torrence, associate pastor of the sponsoring church, New Light Missionary Baptist Church, said. “He cooks for the kids, that’s why they all come.”
Torrence said that at least 400 people came through the party, not counting those coming to a prayer meeting and the outside family movie in the evening.
She said the number of people doubled from last year.
Sponsors covered the $4,000 cost of the event, Torrence said.
She rang the praises of local sponsors and Americorps, which provides staffing for all programs.
“We do everything by faith and I make a lot of phone calls,” she joked.
The program is able to provide free hot meals to about 200 kids in the program throughout the year, with a hundred or so coming in and out every day.
They also provide lunches for the Musser Elementary School C.O.O.L. program.
The center touts a spacious gym, which is the place that gets the most traffic, according to Torrence. The game room, another hot spot, has video games, books and toys, and some “old school” gaming activities, including ping pong and fooseball.
In addition, the free pre-K program is one of the highest-rated programs in the state as a Keystone three stars-accredited program, Torrence said.
The program is comparable to the Head Start program in that it prepares kids for kindergarten.
“Miss Monica (Avery) teaches them moral and social skills,” Torrence said, as well as school classes, “While making sure they have the time of their life.”
Today’s party marked the last day of the free summer program. After Labor Day, the free program, including a hot meal, runs from 3 to 5 p.m. daily.
For more information on services provided by New Light Education Center, call 724-347-0100 or visit www.newlightcec.org