By Tim Leeds
Children and adults of the community braved the chilly, threatening weather yesterday to attend the Third Annual Havre Stand for Children Day rally at Pepin Park Thursday.
Activities for the children and information for the adults was provided from 11 a.m. to noon. After lunch was served by the Taco John's Taco Cart, speakers addressed the crowd about the need to "stand for children" and about services and activities available in the area.
Angie Teske of Head Start introduced the speaking program, which began with Mayor Phyllis Leonard. Leonard thanked everyone for attending the rally, and said it is a wonderful program. She said it is important for the community to come together to support children's issues.
Leonard said some of the projects the City of Havre has for children include the park system in the city. She said there are 26 parks, giving anyone in town access to one no more than 6 blocks away.
Leonard said the bicycle patrol has benefited children greatly. She said having officers going through the parks on their bicycles not only protects the children in the parks, it also gives them the opportunity to know and talk to city police officers.
Leonard then read a proclamation officially declaring June 1, 2000 the Stand for Children Day in Havre. She said that caring for children should not only apply to your own or your neighbor's children, but as a community everyone should look at each other as one large family and care for and help each other.
Marit Ita of the HRDC Child Care Link introduced the next speakers. Pastor Steve Flateau, president of the Havre Ministerial Association, said a main goal of the local churches is to provide care and guidance for the children of the community. He said it is important for children to have a foundation of what is wrong and what is right, what really does matter, and that is a goal of the religious institutions and activities in the community.
Tom Bolan, Havre HRDC director, said in our hectic, busy, workaday world we need to stop and think about how we can be of service to children today. He said there is no substitute for time spent with children, and there is no commodity more difficult to find for them. He said in Havre the focus is on the children. He said much of the activity in the community, both in the schools and out, is focused on the children.
Matt and Ryan Widdekind, Jessica Nolan, Thea Maristuen and Heather Bowker, all of HELP Youth Organization, then presented a list of activities, from the "Havre Has It!" youth activity booklet, available to children and youths in the community. The list included art and theater activities; sports activities; music programs and lessons; hunting, fishing and outdoor activities, and religious groups and activities.
Shandi Freier, a Girl Scout working on her Gold Award, presented a list of more activities in the area, including the parks and recreation department activities, the city pool, and Boy and Girl Scouts.
Abigail and Taylor Ita read a list of ways people can stand for children to close the program.
Before the speaking program began a variety of activities and information was available. Among these, the Therapeutic Riding Association provided a horse for the children to see and pet, a parachute was used to throw and catch balls, games such as "Duck, Duck, Goose" were played, and information about Stand for Children and children's health and insurance issues were presented.
Stand for Children is a national member organization formed in 1996 to promote and better children's issues. More information is available on their website at www.stand.org.