By Wade Coffindaffer
Program Manager
Youth Advantage

The weather conditions weren't the best, but the exhibits and activities were great at the First Annual Youth Expo held April 13 at the Heritage Park Community Building in Spencer.

The expo was designed to provide a "Spring Break" activity for children, youth, young adults, and their families in Calhoun, Clay, Jackson and Roane counties.

Twenty agencies and organizations set up information booths and games for those who braved the cool, rainy weather to attend.

Participants played games, won prizes, and received helpful information at the booths. The exhibitors work with the age group of five years to 21 years old and/or their families to provide services and opportunities to improve and maintain a better quality of life.

More than 35 participants representing the 4-county area won door prizes provided by the exhibitors. The Grand Door Prize for the event was a Wii gaming system won by Remington Cheuvront.

The gaming system was provided through funding by the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, one of the co-sponsors of the event. Also sponsoring the event were the Youth Advantage program of WorkForce WV and the Adolescent Health Initiative of RESA V.

Other door prizes ranged from gift cards to gift baskets and included T-shirts, polo shirts, caps, umbrellas, shoebag totes and backpacks.

Crystal Douglas of Clay and Cassandra Rowe of Spencer compete
on the "Dance, Dance Revolution" game center at the Youth Expo
held April 13 at the Heritage Park Community Building in Spencer

"This event has served as a catalyst to staging Youth Expos in each of the counties next year," notes Wade Coffindaffer, program manager for Youth Advantage.

"The three co-sponsors collaborated to initiate the event and targeted exhibitors were quick to respond to the opportunity," he added. "After assessing this year's event, we all look forward to replicating the expo for each of the four counties."

Exhibitors included, Roane County Family Resource Network; WVU Extension 4-H; Connect Child Care R&R; Mountaineer Challenge Academy; Jackson County Developmental Center; Westbrook Health Services; Carelink; Families Forward; WV Division of Rehabilitative Services; PATCH 21st Century; Calhoun Family Resource Network; WV Dept. of Health & Human Resources; Family Health Care; Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Initiative; Youth Advantage; RESA V - Adolescent Health Initiative; Glenville State College; WVU-Parkersburg and Greg Fowler's 2007 IHRA Champion - Division I Hot Rod sponsored by Youth Advantage & WorkForce WV.

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