Day care providers hold carnival for Alexandra House

Over the years, Jan and Virgil Westlund of Andover have crafted carnival games for kids who come to their day care business.

Nathan Beberg, 8, gets a prize from the booth managed by Connolly Guidotti, Paige Hines and Alyssa Reardon. Photo by Eric Hagen

Nathan Beberg, 8, gets a prize from the booth managed by Connolly Guidotti, Paige Hines and Alyssa Reardon. Photo by Eric Hagen

Jan and another day care provider, Judy Reardon of Andover, have talked for years about having several local day care providers bring their kids to the Westlund house for a carnival. One day, “we just decided to do it,” Reardon said.

Probably over 100 kids came to Westlund’s house throughout the day Aug. 3 for a carnival that was for a good cause. The $300 collected was donated to the Alexandra House, which assists women and children who are in abusive homes.

“It was a neat event, very well attended and had really good energy,” said Amy Highness, community education coordinator with the Alexandra House.

There were many games and activities on Westlund’s lawn and driveway such as milk bottle toss, a fishing game, bowling, basketball, ring toss, face painting and an inflatable castle.

All games were run by the kids with some parent supervision so they could learn about responsibility and working with other people, Westlund said.

Parents bought tickets for their kids to play games and buy food. One ticket was 50 cents. Some people made additional donations to help Alexandra House, according to Westlund.

These seven licensed day care providers put on a carnival to raise money for the Alexandra House. Front, the back row (left to right): Tammy Turnquist of Andover, Kris Karnowski of Andover, Marsha Prazak of Coon Rapids, Lisa Swenson of Coon Rapids, Judy and Jim Reardon of Andover and Julie Olson of Andover.

These seven licensed day care providers put on a carnival to raise money for the Alexandra House. Front, the back row (left to right): Tammy Turnquist of Andover, Kris Karnowski of Andover, Marsha Prazak of Coon Rapids, Lisa Swenson of Coon Rapids, Judy and Jim Reardon of Andover and Julie Olson of Andover.

During the approximately three-hour carnival, about 3,000 prizes were given out. Chuck E. Cheese, Country Fresh Foods, Providers Choice, B-roc’s Auto Repair, Sam’s Club and Lincoln Pawn & Jewelry chipped in some prizes and food. Parents of the day care children did bring gently used toys to be given away.

Gina Miller of Andover brought 150 cartons of milk just because she wanted to help out and give the kids something good to drink. Miller owns Country Fresh Foods and also is a licensed day care provider.

Highness brought pamphlets about services provided and the Sept. 29 Walk for Hope. Being able to inform children and parents about what Alexandra House does and that this resource is available to them in case they ever need it is very important, she said.

Tammy Turnquist, a day care provider in Andover, can attest to the importance of having an organization like Alexandra House. She has known people who were physically abused. One of her niece’s best friends named Natasha Waalen was killed Sept. 18, 2008.

“This is going to a very good cause,” she said.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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