By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – A bounce house, free food and family friendly activities highlighted the second annual Allen Park Rotary Club Family Fun Day Aug. 27 at Millward Park.
Donna Schmidt of Allen Park, a past Rotary district governor, said Rotary clubs plan free community events like this to introduce people to their programs.
“We want them to become more familiar with where Rotary Millward Park is located,” Schmidt said of the park northeast of Goddard and Reeck roads. “We’re going to have a new playscape coming in within the next few weeks, and so we hope that we will be able to attract more people to this park in particular. We’re just happy to see families getting together and sharing quality time.”
Annette Prevaux-Matejko, an Allen Park Rotary Club past president, agrees that it is important for families to find ways to spend time together.
“We hold this event because we think it’s important for families to come together, and play together and spend time together,” Prevaus-Matejko said. “(To) step away from the TV and the electronics and just really have an old-fashioned good time together.”
She said she was not too worried about the impeding rain, because it didn’t dampen their fun last year.
Prevaux-Matejko said the bounce house was popular, and the tug-of-war, and three-legged, sack and spoon races would come into play later.
“There’s plenty of table games for families to play together. There’s a lot to do,” she said.
Prevaux-Matejko said when she looks around and sees families enjoying themselves, it makes all the time they spend fundraising worth it.
Kip Horvath, also a Rotary past president, said he was born and raised in Allen Park, and it feels good to give back to the community. He said his 3-year-old grandson was at the event and enjoying the park in general.
“He’s also enjoying the trucks going over I-75, which is a pretty big thrill for him,” he said with a grin as he pointed to the elevated freeway in the distance.
Kyle Waligora, 15, a member of Interact, a Rotary-sponsored service club for students 12 to 18, said he was having fun.
“It’s a way you can get out in your community and it’s nice to see all the kids having fun,” Waligora said. “There’s free food, and it’s a great way to meet your neighbors. It’s just a great way of how Allen Park’s turning back around and having a little fun here.”
Horvath said he likes to see people interacting, smiling, and enjoying being a part of a community as they get to know each other.
He said another Rotary project, promoting literacy and encouraging children to read, is a favorite project, and the club donates books to all first and second graders in all the elementary schools in Allen Park.
“It’s a fun thing for us to do because we’ll deliver the books and read the books to the children,” he said, “and then we leave them there with them.”
Prevaux-Matejko said community events let them share Rotary’s message.
“We’re the best kept secret in the world,” she said.
She said there is no age restriction on Rotary membership.
“If you have a pulse, you’re welcome to join us,” Prevaux-Matejko said.
The club meets at noon Wednesdays at Baker College, 4500 Enterprise Drive, Room B-103.