What do Superheroes, kids, families, pizza, arcade games, putt putt, go carts and tobacco have in common? Not much if you think about it, but tonight they had a lot in common; all these things went together if you were at Zao Island from 5-8 this evening.
The Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition for Porter County held their annual Volunteer Appreciation event at Zao Island this evening. The Coalition and its volunteers celebrated 15 years of success for their work involving tobacco prevention. The mission of the coalition is to promote tobacco control initiatives for the purpose of reducing tobacco use by our citizens through education.
You might be thinking, “Why hold this event at Zao island?” Todd Willis, Porter Starke’s Director of Prevention and Education and Vice Chair of the Tobacco Coalition explained why the event was at Zao.
“We want the people that are part of this coalition to bring their families. Tobacco use affects the family. So we wanted to provide something for the kids so they could have some fun and we could honor some of their parents.”
Pizza, salad, breadsticks and soda were in endless supply for the event. No one was leaving hungry from this evening, no matter what time you were able to make it to the event!
Cheryl Wallace, Chair of the committee for tonight’s event, greeted everyone that came while wearing a superhero costume. Cheryl, who is also a nurse who works with lung cancer patients, was very excited to see all the people that support the coalition.
“I’m excited to see all the kids having fun, too” smiled Cheryl. She also spoke at tonight’s event, thanking all the volunteers followed by Todd Willis announcing the winners of tonight’s awards.
Six awards were given out this evening.
Superwoman award for being a Partnership Super Hero went to Cheryl Wallace.
Ironman Award for being a Youth Prevention Superhero went to Don Spears and Ivy Tech Community College. Green Lantern Award for Quit Line Superhero went to Dr. Girn with NorthShore. The Spiderman Award For Secondhand Smoke Superhero went to Antonio. Wonder Woman Award for Secondhand Smoke Superhero was awarded to Donna Kovalick and East Pointe Apartments. The last award of the evening was the Batman Award for Quit Line Superhero that went to Porter Regional Hospital.
Ryan Singh, Program Coordinator, dressed as Batman to help honor the Superheroes of the evening, shared why the Coalition had this event, “We are celebrating all the successes we’ve had throughout the year. Recognizing and celebrating all our partners and volunteers we have been working with.”
After listening to the awards presented, this goal was successful. Those honored above were very appreciative of receiving the awards. Dr Girn was very quick to acknowledge his team by having their picture taken together and talking about how hard they worked.
After the awards were presented the kids were given wristbands and game cards to have fun at Zao. They were able to play laser tag, putt putt, ride go-carts, and slide on giant slides and play arcade games. It was a beautiful night to walk around for the parents or to sit and watch your kids smile and have fun. It was truly an event for the whole family!
The goal of the Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition for Porter County is to save lives by reducing tobacco use and eliminating health disparities related to tobacco use through protecting residents from secondhand smoke, prevention and reducing youth tobacco use and access to tobacco products and also improve services to assist smokers in quitting. Tonight’s goal was to honor those on the committee and their families for being a part of this Coalition and all the work they did.
Justin Sowles, a volunteer with the coalition who came to this event for the first time, enthused, “I think it’s wonderful, it’s fantastic! My kids are loving it.” Sowles’ quote seems to sum up the feeling of the whole evening for a lot of families in attendance.