A fun family event will be held this week in Jacksonville by an organization that serves daily as an advocate for children.

The third annual Children’s Carnival hosted by North Carolina Guardian Ad Litem for Judicial District 4 will take place Friday at Riverwalk Crossing Park from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

There will be games and activities for the kids to enjoy as the organization also shares a message about child abuse prevention. More than 400 people attended last year’s carnival and the number is expected to increase this year.

“There will be raffles, vendors, superhero characters and about 30 organizations participating, and each one will have a game or activity for the kids,” said Jessica Williams, a Guardian Ad Litem volunteer and social work intern who is helping organize the carnival along with intern Julie Williams. “The purpose of the carnival is to spread awareness about child abuse prevention.”

 

 

Here are a few things to know about the event:

There will be games and activities for the whole family, with performances by Diana’s Dance Academy, Hot Hula Fitness and a DJ on site for additional entertainment. There will also be raffles for bikes and other prizes.

Community leaders will speak throughout the event about child abuse prevention, including Guardian Ad Litem attorney Ernie Wright, Sheriff Hans Miller, a foster care alumni, and district Guardian Ad Litem administrator Lori McClain.

About 30 organizations involved in efforts to prevent child abuse will be on hand, including the local PEERS program, Easterseals, the Department of Social Service and foster care program, and Onslow County Partnership for Children.

There will be an opening ceremony with a color guard and patriotic music and a candlelight vigil to remember children who have lost their lives due to child abuse will close out the event.

The carnival supports the Guardian Ad Litem program and its mission of providing advocates to represent and promote the best interests of abused, neglected and dependent children in the state court system and to work expediently toward a plan that ensures these children are in a safe, permanent home.

The program is a division of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, and a member of the National CASA Association. GAL volunteers are appointed by the court and the program serves over 15,000 children a year.