Snow festival raises child-care funds

Snow fell in Palm Bay on Saturday — but not from the sky. The Brown Bear Academy of Learning Community Improvement Group held its first snow festival to raise money for the Big Kidz Matter, a new initiative with a goal of making after school care affordable to families.

This event included many attractions such as a snow slide, blizzard, bounce houses, obstacle courses, train rides, face painting, prizes and games.

The Early Learning Program in Florida recently suffered a major budget cut that has decreased the subsidized funds used to help families pay for child care.

“At the end of this event we would like to be able to help needy families with paying for Aftercare services for school age children,” Executive Director of the Brown Bears Community Improvement Group, Shaqueta Brown said via email. “We also will provide mentoring and tutoring as well as food and clothing services.”

Brown said there as been an increase  the number in people who don’t value the life of a child and because of this, many children also have been committing suicide.

“Children are no longer safe in their own neighborhoods,” Brown said. “We feel that if children had a safe place to go after school or perhaps speak to someone about their problems we may be able to help reduce the statistics of suicide.”

The festival was inspired when Brown witnessed a parent crying after she realized she had been terminated from receiving subsized care and could not pay for aftercare on her own.

By Desiree Shields