‘Play Day’ brings pals together at Rec Center

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, April 6, 2016

As the mother of two young children, Shandrekia Williams knows all too well that taking vacations often puts a strain on the family budget. She knows, too, that many parents just aren’t able, financially, to take their kids to Disney World or Six Flags or even to the zoo or a movie.

“But you don’t have to go to amusement parks to have summer fun,” Williams said. “There are plenty of things that kids can do and things they can enjoy just by playing together. They need to play together often.”

Williams decided that she would get kids together for a time of play and time of fun.

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So, she organized Party Pals, a not-for-profit program designed to bring kids together for a time of supervised play.

“During the summer a lot of kids just sit at home and watch TV,” she said.

“I wanted to plan events to get the kids away from the TV and outside playing and having fun.”

Williams planned a fun day for kids at the Troy Recreation Park on Saturday.

“I was worried that nobody would come because I just passed the word around,” she said. “I let parents and kids know that we were having a play day and it was free and to please come.”

Williams’ worries were unfounded. A guesstimate was that 250 kids came and 250 kids had fun.

“We had face painting and played hop scotch and lots of games, some that involved numbers and letters,” Williams said.

“We told jokes and the kids danced. And, we served hotdogs, hamburgers, chips and juices. It wasn’t Disney World but we all had good time.”

Williams provided the lunch out of pocket.

“I wanted to do that,” she said. “It was money well spent. I have a heart for kids.”

Williams is planning several annual play days for kids. The next will be in July.

“Again, we’ll play together and have fun,” she said.

“I plan to have school supplies to give the kids. I want them to know that their school work is important and that they should always give it their best.”

For Williams, kids’ play day is her way of being involved in the community. She is a 2011graduate of Charles Henderson High School and is enrolled in the nursing program at Wallace College.