Healthy Kids Day has something for everybody

April 09, 2006|By BONNIE H. BRECHBILL


From how to correctly install a baby's car seat to how to save for college, information on almost everything parents need to raise children was available Saturday at the Waynesboro YMCA.

The eighth annual Healthy Kids Day attracted hundreds of people who visited booths set up by 35 groups and organizations from throughout Franklin County.

Annie Dunn, president and founder of the nonprofit special-needs resource center Brianna's Blessings, displayed toys used in therapy for special-needs children and dolls depicting children with various special needs.


Dunn plans to open a facility in Chambersburg "similar to a YMCA, but adapted for special-needs children," she said. "It will have a developmental room, a sensory room, a teaching room and a playroom."

The proposed center also would be "a place for parents to bond. If your kid has a meltdown, no one is going to be looking at you strangely. Parents will find out they're not alone."

Dunn has five girls; Brianna, 2, has Sanfilippo's Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes mental retardation, behavior and vision problems, and other health issues.

"Brianna's purpose in life is that her mommy helps others to learn to associate better," Dunn said.

A former sign language teacher, Dunn plans to provide a place where typically developing children can relate to children with disabilities and can learn sign language so that when the special-needs children are mainstreamed, everyone is comfortable.

Dunn plans a Walk-A-Thon fundraiser for Brianna's Blessings on April 22 on South Main Street in Chambersburg. For information, call Dunn at 717-264-5090. The organization's Web site is

The Safe Kids Coalition booth had a long line throughout much of the morning. Jackie Umberger, coordinator of the Franklin County chapter, tried bicycle helmets on children and made sure they fit properly. Helmets were given away to those who did not have them or had outgrown them.

"The helmet has to be snug," Umberger said. "When they shake their head, the helmet shouldn't move. It has to sit down on the forehead, and the strap has to be tight under the chin."

Tiffani Kelley, 5, sat still while Umberger fitted her for a blue flowered bicycle helmet, which she plans to wear while riding her training-wheel bike.

"It has flowers. I ride it really good," Tiffani said.

Tiffani's brother, Kody, 4, also was fitted for a helmet as their mother, M.J. Kelley of Waynesboro, watched.

Information on tobacco and alcohol use, alternative healing methods, Girl Scouts, Pioneer Clubs, Head Start, Early Intervention and many other programs also was available.

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