On Friday, Oct. 26, The Village Early Learning Center will host its 12th annual Costume Crusade to benefit Families with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (FSMA).
Every year the children of “The Village” dress up and parade around in their costumes to raise money and awareness for SMA.
Joe Smith, “Mr. Joe," who owns the early learning center with his wife, Susan, suffers from a mild form of SMA.
During the event, he competes in a wheelchair race with some worthy opponents. Brooklynn Santos, 4, who has Type II SMA, was last year's wheelchair race winner. Thomas Tucker, 14, who also has Type II SMA, also comes out each year to compete, have fun and support the fundraising efforts.
“It is our opportunity to raise awareness and funds for this disease," said Susan Miller. "It shows the children that they can help make a difference in others’ lives. This is one of the ways we teach empathy to our preschoolers.”
All proceeds go to FSMA. Last year, The Village was able to raise more than $4,000.
For safety reasons, the Costume Crusade is only open to The Village children and families. However, The Village will host its Halloween in the Halls for all children in the community Saturday, Oct. 27 from 5 to 8:30 p.m.
With the support of The Village Family Foundation, children and parents are invited to come dressed in costumes where there will be preschool carnival games, face painting, a bounce house, treats and a few “tricks” in a haunted house.
Continuing a week of events, on Saturday, Nov. 3, The Village will host its 12th annual Community Parking Lot Sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Village families and community members will clean out their closets and garages for a good cause. Tax-deductible donations will be accepted. Table space is available to rent for a $25 donation.
Small businesses and self-employed individuals are invited to display their products or services to the more than 500 people that attend the community’s largest garage sale. There will also be a raffle for gift baskets donated by parents, small businesses and community agencies. (You do not need to be present to win.)
Formerly Tutor Time Learning Center, The Village Early Learning Center opened in 2000. It is a 10,500-square-foot, free-standing facility located at 3741 Canoga Park Dr., Brandon. It educates and nurtures children from birth to 12 years of age. The Village ELC has the highest cumulative VPK scores and is the only NAEYC accredited program in the Brandon area.
For information, call 813-651-0779 or visit The Village website.