With a timely emphasis on safety, good fun, refreshments, and helpful health information, State Representatives Joanna McClinton and Jordan Harris sponsored a delightful Southwest Halloween “Fall Festival” on October 31. As the evening sun descended, several hundred revelers (young and old) in a hilarious selection of bright costumes assembled in the parking area of The Common Place at 58th Street and Chester Avenue for a variety of activities.
“It was such a joy bringing children and families together to enjoy fun-filled activities and receive candy in a safe and healthy environment,” Rep. McClinton said.
The event featured health screenings, including a toothbrush demonstration and giveaway by Penn Dental Medicine. Instructing the children with the proper brushing technique and dispensing were Karoline Genung, RHD, Nathalie Valerius, and Penn Dental students Stephanie Mark and Grace Huang. To a constant lineup of inquisitive youngsters, the Penn Dental Oral Health team handed out xylitol lollypops. The tasty, sugar-free “candy” actually helps prevent tooth decay “by metabolizing in the mouth to reduce the growth of bacteria as other sweeteners do,” advised Genung. It changes the acidity of saliva and keeps the teeth and mouth cleaner.
From the Philadelphia Department of Health came Lukia Knox and Laura Wallace to spin an educational pinwheel that posed health questions on nutrition, safety, fitness and heart risks to the fascinated youngsters. When the kids found correct answers on a health information handout, they were rewarded with prizes.
A notable visitor was the vivacious Miss Pennsylvania 2020, Nikki Johnson-Huston, Esq. Ms. Nikki emerged from homelessness at age 9 to earn an undergraduate degree at St. Joseph’s and a law degree from Temple. Active in several community organizations like ASAP, Ms. Nikki has a private tax law practice after her six-year term as a Deputy City Solicitor. On her lively Facebook page is her motto, “There is no shame in being poor, but being of poor character.”
A pair of naturalists, Wing Yi Kung and Sean Binninger, from nearby Heinz National Wildlife Refuge helped youngsters with arts and crafts related nature themes.
“It’s important that we keep this momentum of community cohesion, not only through family-friendly activities but also through promoting healthy lifestyles and providing constituent services,” McClinton said. “Thank you to my colleague Representative Harris, the community-at-large and our sponsors for a successful Southwest Philadelphia Fall Festival!”
Reps. McClinton and Harris expressed deep appreciation to The Common Place, the 12th Police District of Philadelphia, Mercy Health System, and Cousin’s Supermarket.
For constituent services phone Rep. McClinton’s office at (215) 748-6712 or Rep. Harris’ at (215) 952-3378.