The 6th annual Put the Guns Down Festival, sponsored by the Campaign Against Violence (a project of the WI League), was an inspiring experience for two very important reasons: 1. it was a great way for the neighborhood kids to come out and enjoy their Sunday with positive activities, and 2. because I had the opportunity to be involved. I began working with C.A.V only one week prior to the event, so I was fairly new and didn’t have many details about it. I was unaware of such festivities taking place in that area annually so I was excited to see the types of activities they had for the kids. After attending meetings and assisting with the set up, I was amazed by the level of cooperation, organization, and overall readiness of the team. I just knew it was going to be big.
On that following Sunday, the BIG DAY, I woke up excited. I arrived at the park (on time!) to help with set up. We had all of our volunteers and were ready to go. My friend Cidney and I were in charge of registration, along with some of the best volunteers anyone could ask for. Around 11 o’clock the march started and people began to fill the park area. I saw an astonishing amount of children, teens, adults, and everyone in between having a great time, and it warmed my heart. I saw lines of kids over by the balloon and face painting area. I also saw a crowd surrounding the stage enjoying the sounds of DJ Willie Shakes and various local artists who had come out to put on the show. Not to mention the amazing food: hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, green beans, spaghetti, and potato salad, you don’t get free food like that at every event. It spoke to me personally that I could witness this because I love to see the little ones having a great time and doing something positive. I rarely see that. It kind of brought tears to my eyes. Not only because the organization brought smiles to people’s faces but because I helped do it. I love seeing my people smile. With that being said I feel as though despite a few loose ends here and there, the 6th Annual Put the Guns Down Festival was a huge success!