Tuesday, October 12 2021

The new Hallman Neighborhood Family Council kicked off its “Fun Fridays in the Park” on July 9 with a colorful event focused on health and early learning. It’s part of a local parent-led effort to help families feel safe in the area after an increase in shootings and give parents the tools they need to prepare children for success in school.

Araya Garcia, right, of Marion County Health and Human Services, plays a game with attendees to promote the new Family Connects program at the Hallman Neighborhood Family Council’s inaugural “Fun Fridays at Northgate Park” event on Friday, July 9 2021. (Amanda Reporter Loman / Salem)

Italian sodas, football throws and colorful crafts made Northgate Park a vibrant place on July 9.

The Hallman Neighborhood Family Council hosted its first Fun Fridays in the Park, drawing hundreds of parents and children to an evening focused on promoting early childhood health and education.

Stefany Ponce said her daughter Daleyza, 6, was delighted to be able to get out of the house.

“She’s been talking about it all week,” Ponce said as Daleyza made a little butterfly out of pipe cleaners and a plastic bag full of raisins.

The couple met a former preschool teacher while browsing the booths spread over the shaded west side of the park, Ponce said.

6-year-old Daleyza Ponce decorates a magnet at the Food Hero booth at Hallman Neighborhood Family Council’s inaugural “Fun Fridays at Northgate Park” event on Friday, July 9, 2021. (Amanda Loman / Salem Reporter)

The Hallman Council, formed earlier this year, is part of a city-wide effort to improve the quality of life in Salem’s poorest neighborhoods by bringing parents together and offering them support to make their dreams come true. ideas.

Hallman’s council is led by longtime Salem activist Eduardo Angulo, whose house borders the park, and neighborhood parent Whitney Contreras. Their goal was to help families feel comfortable in public spaces in the neighborhood, which has seen a slight increase in shootings this year. They also wanted parents to have easy access to information on healthy recipes, preschool programs and more.

A DJ played a mix of recent hits and classic songs, including “Despacito” and “La Camisa Negra,” while a volunteer led families in a dance and fitness class. Angulo roasted hot dogs in his backyard, and hundreds of people entered a raffle for educational toys and other prizes.

Salem cops chatted with children and threw a soccer ball, while Valor Mentoring executives hosted a cornhole game.

Whitney Contreras and her son Ivan greet a friend at Hallman Neighborhood Family Council’s inaugural “Fun Fridays at Northgate Park” event on Friday, July 9, 2021. (Amanda Loman / Salem Reporter)

Contreras, who was present with her three children, compared the planning process to the start of labor. Friday night felt like I was finally giving birth and meeting your child, she said.

“It feels good,” she said.

The council plans weekly Fridays in the park until August 27. The theme for July 16 is “security,” and Angulo said 16 organizations are participating.

Council member Ramon Arredondo, center, greets a visitor at Hallman Neighborhood Family Council’s inaugural “Fun Fridays at Northgate Park” event on Friday, July 9, 2021. (Amanda Loman / Salem Reporter)

Salem Police Department Officer Cadet Ashley Setzer speaks with visitors at the Hallman Neighborhood Family Council’s inaugural ‘Fun Fridays at Northgate Park’ event on Friday, July 9, 2021. (Amanda Loman / Salem Reporter) Attendees visit a booth at Hallman Neighborhood Family Council’s inaugural “Fun Fridays at Northgate Park” event on Friday, July 9, 2021. (Amanda Loman / Salem Reporter) Noe Contreras helps hang a sign at Hallman Neighborhood Family Council’s inaugural “Fun Fridays at Northgate Park” event on Friday, July 9, 2021. (Amanda Loman / Salem Reporter)Attendees enter the Hallman Neighborhood Family Council’s inaugural “Fun Fridays at Northgate Park” event on Friday, July 9, 2021. (Amanda Loman / Salem Reporter) Meredith Mooney of New Harvest Church offers Italian sodas at Hallman Neighborhood Family Council’s inaugural “Fun Fridays at Northgate Park” event on Friday, July 9, 2021. (Amanda Loman / Salem Reporter)A family sits in the park during the Hallman Neighborhood Family Council’s inaugural “Fun Fridays at Northgate Park” event on Friday, July 9, 2021. (Amanda Loman / Salem Reporter)

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

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