Local rec center holds Halloween gym jam

A young girl attempts to throw a bean bag during a modified game of cornhole.

Local rec center holds Halloween gym jam
November 03
03:30 2016

Photo by Timothy Ramsey



The Carl H. Russell Sr. Community Center held a Halloween celebration for the local youth.

The center  partnered with the Carver Senior Citizens club and area sponsors to put on the event, which was designed to bring kids to the center as a way to keep them off the street and into a safe environment.

The “Trick or Treat Gym Jam” has been held at the rec center for the past five years and continues to grow each year.  The center had a number of activities for the children to enjoy, such as a dance contest, three-point shooting contest, musical chairs and more.

The music was provided by Carver student Roberto Burges, who volunteered his time.

Carl Russell director Ben Piggott said he loves this event because it puts the kids in a safe environment.“We all get the experience of seeing the kids happy and let other people out-side of the center show them love,” said Piggott.  “I get excited when I see the kids come in and different groups come give.  It’s my biggest thrill to see a kid get all the candy they want and tell me, Mr. Piggott when I grow up I want to do the same thing and give back, too.”

The recreation center connected with many different organizations and individuals to sponsor the event.  Donations and time were given by New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, Amazing Faith Apostolic Church, Winston-Salem Parks and Recreation Department, Swing Phi Swing Social Fellowship Inc., 30th District Class of Prince Hall Masons, Know Your Neighbor club, Carl H. Russell’s Sittercise class, Castle Heights Community Association, Carl H. Russell Volunteers Association, Mae Edith Piggot’s Gift, Vickie Allen (E.C. Starts) and Groove Phi Groove (Ram Chapter).

“Each time we have have this event, we have quite a few people who give unmercifully,” Piggot continued.  “We are just blessed to be a part of a well that lets people come in and volunteer.  We have many volunteers in there that just want to give back to the children.”

Quiana Johnson of Swing phi Swing said she decided to volunteer because it was an opportunity to give back to the community. She said her greatest satisfaction of the night was to be able to see the kids smile and the fun interactions with the children.

There were several community organizations present at the gym jam as well.  Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods and Imprints Cares where involved to make the parents aware of the services they provide.

Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods (NBN) is an organization that provides grassroot grants for neighborhood associations.  Kenneth Hollly, NBN community organizer, said their goal is to help residents establish stability within their own communities. He wanted to inform the local communities around Carver School Road of the grants that are available to the residents if they meet certain qualifications.

“Our efforts are to make sure residents have the capacity of sustaining their own communities from inside,” said Holly. “We wanted to participate here because we know it’s a way to connect with parents that might not be aware of our programs and to help the kids.”

Gabrielle Baker of Imprints Cares said her organization works with parents and children in Forsyth County.  She says they provide screenings, books and after school programs for kids. She said the reason they participated was to reconnect with the community and make sure the children are as successful as possible.

Piggott says he wants to continue to see the Trick or Treat Gym Jam grow each year.  He says with the strong assistance from the community and local organizations, the sky is the limit for the event.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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