The smell of sweet pie, the sound of people dunking into a tank full of water and the excitement of kids as they win fun prizes are all things that make a carnival fun. And that is exactly what Youth Homes had in mind. For 25 years, Youth Homes has hosted a carnival inviting their youth, staff and volunteers to celebrate the start of the school year. For the past couple years, the Johnston Police Department, the Johnston Fire Department and Johnston Mayor, Paula Dierenfeld, have joined the celebration by participating and interacting with the kids at the carnival. This year, Johnston Police Chief, Dennis McDaniel, even volunteered to take a pie to the face and sit in the dunk tank.
The Youth Homes carnival offers many fun games for kids, the most popular being the dunk tank and dart board. Participants can also play mini golf, knock out basketball, frisbee, ping pong, ring toss and corn hole. In most of these games, the kids receive tickets to redeem for prizes. As the carnival came to an end, Youth Homes hosted a meal for all those in attendance. Everyone truly enjoyed evening full of games, food and good company.
This carnival encourages the kids to feel like kids — stress free, happy and playful. Many of our Youth Homes’ kids deal with harsh and heavy situations, so they tend to forget what it feels like to be a kid. The carnival provides an event where they can goof around, have fun and interreact with each other in a fun environment. Additionally, the participation and presence of police officers, firefighters and other city officials encourages the kids to develop a positive relationship with them, showing the kids they can rely on and trust authority figures.
“The relationship between Youth Homes and the community of Johnston (which we call our home) is very important, and we are honored that the City of Johnston has chosen to support us in so many ways. While we rely on their services at times, it is even more important to us that they believe in the work we are doing and want to do in the future,” reflects Associate Executive Director Chris Koepplin.
The City of Johnston views Youth Homes as an asset to the community. Youth Homes looks forward to continuing a supportive and collaborative relationship with the entire Johnston community and authority figures.