It's never too early to teach children the value of giving to charity.
On Friday, the Village Early Learning Center, 3741 Canoga Park Dr. in Brandon, will kick off the holidays with two days of Halloween celebrations, starting with the 11th annual Costume Crusade. The event is intended to raise awareness of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a disease that is the No. 1 genetic killer of children younger than 2. All the proceeds from this event go to benefit the Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (FMSA) for research and support.
"Because we are a preschool, we feel like this is the most appropriate charity for us to do an event for," said Susan Miller, owner of the Village Early Learning Center. "The event has grown every year and has become a great way for us to raise awareness about this disease."
Infants and kids up to 5 years old who attend the school will dress in costume and participate in a parade around the Village's parking lot after the opening event, a wheelchair race. Students can then participate in carnival games after the parade. Parents and community members are asked to purchase raffle tickets for baskets of items donated by parents, small businesses, and community agencies.
The event is the first in a series of fundraisers that will be hosted by the preschool. On Saturday, "Halloween in the Halls" will entertain older kids while the younger ones enjoy carnival games.
"Our families are mostly working parents, so the second event came out of them wanting to participate in some sort of Halloween event with their kids," Miller said. "Halloween in the Halls is great because we love to have community members come for that. It's a great bonding experience for the families who come out and it really kicks the holidays off nicely."
The week will conclude with a Community Fair and Parking Lot sale on Nov. 5. The sale consists of items that the 177 families whose children are enrolled at the Village have cleaned out of their homes. The rental for their display tables goes to FSMA. For more information, call The Village Early Learning Center at 813-651-0779.