Data News Weekly Contributor
Lakeside Mall hosted its Annual Lakeside Kids Expo under its Veteran Skylight for Children on Saturday, March 30, 2019. Over 50-plus vendors participated in the event for families to learn about resources in the community and programs for children across the year and for the summer.
“This is our 20th year for the Lakeside Kids Expo. We have organizations from the community; it’s a really fun day for kids, we’re really excited to support the community,” said Toni Lanedche, a publisher for Kids & Family New Orleans.
Vendors included summer camps, area schools, and local groups with a range of programs for parents to enroll their children. Some programs aim to help develop children’s educational well-being and included opportunities for children with special needs. Health organizations like Smile Doctors and the Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority participated in the expo to promote hygiene and healthy practices for children.
“[The expo] is very informative, we are very new in the U.S. Actually, it’s been about one and a half years, it’s very important to to get information about the local community programs,” said Bhavita Kumari, a parent attending the program with her two sons.
While providing educational services, it also provided children the chance to get involved in extracurricular activities they may be interested in, such as athletics like martial arts, organized sports, and gymnastics. The expo also held a section for children interested in animals, particularly for equestrian activities. The vendor, Pony Tales, brought in two live ponies into the mall for the children to interact with.
“The summer camp expo at Lakeside has really given us a chance to expand our business and get our name out to the public, we’re a small birthday party venue and lessons in St. Rose Louisiana and this gives us a chance to meet the masses,” said Claudia Everett, the facilitator of the Pony Tales Section of the expo.
The children were entertained throughout the day by local puppeteer “Uncle” Wayne Daigrepont of Porta-Puppet Players. They were also given a karate exhibition by Yonsei Martial Arts. With the different vendors amongst the expo, residents said the event was insightful and beneficial for finding resources in the community.
“This expo is amazing and it’s so much fun to do,” said Coriine Everett, who attended the event with her mother.