By Mark Wineka
Project SAFE Neighborhoods, established five years ago to curb gun violence in Salisbury, will hold a "Holiday Family Day" Saturday at the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA.
It's the second Family Day Project SAFE has organized this year and is part of the city's initiative against gangs and youth violence.
The Family Day, going from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., is geared toward families with children in kindergarten through fifth grades. The first 500 families will receive a "goody bag."
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.
Door prize drawings will be held at 1 p.m. To win a door prize, a person must be present and holding a ticket punched at all the workshops, showing attendance.
The grand prize is a Wii video game system. Other prizes include four bicycles from Wal-Mart, four DVD players and MP3 players.
Information workshops for parents during the day include Project SAFE Neighborhoods' Gang Awareness, Anti-gun Violence Education, Help Your Child Succeed and an Interactive Drug Education Puppet Show.
Information booths and displays will include Project SAFE, Youth Services Bureau, Communities in Schools, Rowan Partners for Education, Salisbury Parks and Recreation, the YMCA, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Adolescent Family Enrichment Council and Salisbury-Rowan Community Service Council.
Music and free food and drinks will be available.
There is no admission charge, either.
The United Way of Rowan County is sponsoring the event.
Salisbury Transit is providing free transportation to and from the YMCA.
Children will be able to have their pictures taken with Santa. Other activities for children include the puppet shows, a moon bounce, games, arts and crafts, the Kids' Fire Safety Smokehouse and an appearance by McGruff, the crime dog.
Henry Diggs, the Project SAFE facilitator for its intervention program, said his group knows from the well-attended first Family Day that Saturday's event will be exciting and have an impact.
The event was one of the strategies identified by participants in the city's gang summit initiatives.
"We just have all kinds of things planned for children so their parents can and will attend the workshops," said Jackie Harris, in charge of youth intervention for Project SAFE.
Mayor Susan Kluttz said she thinks the event is a "wonderful way to bring families together and I hope we can continue this."