October 5, 2016

Early Childhood Resource Center hosts annual “The Big, Big, Really Big Toy Box” fundraiser

The Early Childhood Resource Center (ECRC) hosted an afternoon of family fun September 25 at The Big, Big, REALLY BIG Toy Box fundraiser, which transformed the Canton Cultural Center for the Arts into a giant toy box. The Canton Repository wrote about the event. The full text of the article is below. 

Big Toy Box offers array of fun activities

While snacking on potato chips, Jacky Salas did not realize the challenge she and her three sons faced while at the Big, Big, Really Big Toy Box event Sunday.

Among the activities she anticipated participating in was a ride on the Magical Train which provided brief cruises around the back of the Cultural Center for the Arts complex.

"We are going to get on the train, and we are going to get on this and get on this," Salas said, while pointing at a couple of bounce house sets that also were available during the family-fun fundraising event for the Early Childhood Resource Center.

But a relative late-comer to the four-hour Sunday afternoon event, the dilemma for Salas and her young sons, ranging in age from 3 to 6, was so many fun activities, but so little time.

When informed that she had less than an hour to hit all the activities, Salas reconsidered her plans when informed she had less than one hour to realize her plans, and she said, "Probably just one ride, that there (the train)."

Activities, including children's games, puppies to pet and adore, snacks and musical entertainment filled up the Cultural Center for Arts and even spilled out into the outside entrance plaza. Some volunteers were disguised as cartoon characters, such as Batman, Captain America and Winnie the Pooh.

"A ton of volunteers help us out," said Scott Hasselman, executive director for Early Childhood Resource Center. "We make our revenue off of sponsors. We raised about $30,000 in sponsorships. Everybody does a golf outing, everybody does an auction. We just wanted to do something different."

Early Childhood Resource Center is a Canton-based agency which seeks to promote healthy development of young children by working with families and improving early learning experiences.

Tthe event attracted between an estimated 750 and 1,000. Among the many sponsors are PNC Bank, the Deuble Foundation, M. Conley Co., Stark State College and Canton Professional Educators Association.

"We have a great creative committee," said Sandy Turner, development manager for Early Childhood Resource Center, explaining how the event is planned. "We meet once a month and try to come up with things that are appropriate for kids and their families. We have wonderful volunteers that come up with ideas. Our whole goal here is to allow families to come and see things they don't normally see. We are trying to educate the parents on things they can do with their children."

The place was swarming with young adults and children. Among them was Danessa Blue, who was with her two young cousins, ages 8 and 7.

"I thought it was nice," Blue said after leaving the event. "It was a lot of events for the kids."

Despite spending a good part of the afternoon at Big Toy Box, Blue acknowledge she and her cousins missed out on the balloon event and train ride.

"The lines were just too long," she said. "I still had a nice time, though."

A ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, the ECRC promotes the healthy development of children by improving the quality of early education and care through comprehensive programming, resources and support services for families and early childhood professionals. 

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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