Several churches and community organizations met earlier this month in North Little Rock in what was called a "family preparedness fair."
Karen Quigley, who helped organize the fair, said she was pleased with how they event promoted family life.
"It was a robust turnout of individuals and families gathered to learn and enjoy information," she said. "The fair was formed as a public service to the community at large and utilized the efforts of governmental, educational and church organizations with explanations by presenters on how they are focused on strengthening families in the North Little Rock, Maumelle, and Sherwood communities."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 905 Kierre Drive, North Little Rock, hosted this year’s event.
Presenter Julie Drake told attendees about programs offered by the North Little Rock School District.
Elizabeth Johnson, family facilitator/coordinator for the Arkansas State Cooperative Extension Service, explained some of a broad range of education programs offered by her state agency. Johnson talked about the importance of providing role models for children growing up without a male father figure in the home.
Elizabeth Wing, a graduating senior at North Little Rock High School who won the title of Distinguished Young Woman of Arkansas title in Searcy earlier this year, was a presenter who talked about holding onto true values amid rising teen peer pressure.
Sue Shirley who presented some of the compassionate services provided to needy families in the area represented the First United Methodist Church. Father Mike Walsh of St. Anne Catholic Church explained how local parish provides spiritual and temporal services for both English- and Spanish-speaking citizens.
Business owner, Sean Miller of Jimmy Johns Restaurants, explained about the hiring process and how young persons can prepare for and keep a job.
Jerry Johnson, CEO of the Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Jasper, gave insights into the important roles of a father in the home as he and his wife reared four children who all married and have thus far produced 17 grandchildren. Susan Oakley, a retired attorney and president of a local church organization for women in North Little Rock known as Relief Society, discussed the importance of women in a wholesome society both in the community and in the extended family.
Esther Whitney of Jacksonville taught about a successful weekly event that is promoted in her family of her husband and their eight children called Family Home Evening. She explained how the older children become role models for the younger children as they accept assignments to perform various duties and services within the family. Monica Smith, a fifth-degree black belt and martial arts instructor, explained fundamentals of self-protection from a woman’s perspective.
Youth activities in the Boy Scouts of America and wholesome mutual activities with young women of similar ages were presented by Chris Kellar of the LDS church. Younger age youth were addressed by Suzette Brown, adult supervisor of a Sunday children’s program called Primary.
Sally Smith, a facilitator of LDS Family Services, described a free service for persons suffering from addictions. She explained the spiritual and practical successes that have been brought about by a methodical process modeled after the Alcoholics Anonymous twelve steps.
Fair organizer George Wing stated that he was gratified by the support from many churches, civic organizations, and state agencies as he visited many of these groups over the past few weeks.
Some expressed their enthusiasm for this type of event that pools community resources in an effort to strengthen families by being made aware of resources that are so readily available. A common expression of support was encouragement to continue this type of sharing of resources and linking of arms together for strengthening the family.
Wing expressed interest in other organizations hosting this event in the coming years.
Quigley said the fair was considered a huge success and those attending voiced their gratefulness for such a program being offered.