/SPECIAL FOR THE AJT/ JFCS Committee

As families walked into Sensations Therafun on the afternoon of Sun., Feb. 9, the sounds and sights of excitement grabbed them.

Children were cheering and parents were smiling from ear-to-ear as they watched their kids have a fantastic time. JF&CS’ Artscape was in full swing.

Artscape, which benefits the Counseling Services – Tools for Life division, is an annual family-friendly, fun-filled event that also serves to educate children about volunteering.

This year’s event found itself in good hands as its founder Lauren Harris chaired it, and co-chaired by Joel Libowsky. Harris came up with the idea for Artscape and chaired it last year; Liboswky will take over next year. Both have been active volunteers at JF&CS for many years.

Various activity stations, including visual art rooms, a musical petting zoo, yoga, indoor soccer and dance, provided children with experiences in different forms of art. In addition to the art stations, Sensations’ opened its ever-popular zip line and climbing wall to allow them to let out their inner daredevils.

Kids couldn’t contain their excitement as they zipped down that line and climbed as high as they could. Local high school volunteers, other young adults and JF&CS staff members took time out of their days to assist with the activities.

Being that this was a day for families, a cadre of children played the role of “minivolunteers,” greeting guests as they entered the building and assisting adult volunteers with their tasks.

With its unique concept of “host families,” Artscape stands out from other philanthropic events. Much like host committees for other events, host family members’ individual names were listed on different materials promoting the event.

Having their names on the materials let the children know they were part of making something special happen. As the families ended their afternoon of fun, the children received goodie bags with flyers giving them ideas for their own ways to volunteer.

By the end of the day, 485 people had come and just under $20,000 was raised. JF&CS would like to thank everyone who helped make the day a huge success.

“I am blown away by the community’s support of Artscape,” said Libowsky. “My hopes are that this continues to be a big draw for young families and exposes the mission and values of JF&CS to a larger base and in particular the Tools for Life division.”

For more information about Tools for Life, visit ww.YTFL.org/counseling.