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‘Los Niños' celebration makes kids No. 1 priority

April 28, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — The drawings by children on display at Plaza Park here Saturday were a telling sign of why thousands filled the park throughout the day.

The theme of the drawings was "The Future Me," and the pictures showed children becoming firefighters, teachers, actors, doctors, astronauts and presidents.

The drawings were on display as part of the third annual Clinicas De Salud Del Pueblo "El Dia de los Niños" celebration, an event to honor children and show parents what services there are to help youths stay healthy and achieve their goals.

"This is a day for the kids," said Vivian Perez, the Clinicas' Brawley clinic administrator, who suggested to the Clinicas board three years ago that it start an "El Dia de los Niños."

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She added, "It's a day full of fun and free things for the kids. It's a day to celebrate."

Kids filled the park, their laughs and screams echoing up and down Main Street. Most youths interviewed said they had no idea the day was to honor children. They simply said it was a day to have fun.

The children agreed the best part of the event was the water slide that kept them cool on a day that indicated summer is not that far away.

Jennifer Aguilar, 11, of Brawley said she was having a great time despite the heat.

"It's fun because they have games and the water slide," she said as she stood in line for the slide holding onto her brother, Josue, 4.

Rubén León, 12, of Brawley was standing in line for the slide.

"I'm having fun with my family," he said.

Along with the water slide there were two air jumping tents, games, food booths and information booths.

The California Highway Patrol was one of the agencies participating Saturday.

Highway Patrol Officer Jose Salazar said the event gave him a chance to talk to parents about a children's car-seat law that goes into effect Jan. 1. He said that law will require children up to age 6 be in a car seat. The exception is children 60 pounds and over.

"A lot of people are coming by and learning about car-seat safety," Salazar said, adding he also had a chance to talk to kids and parents about bike safety.

There also were performances by local singers and the local folklorico dancing group Estampas de Mexico.

Mike Morales of Imperial was at the event with his daughter, Valerie, 6.

"It's a great time that doesn't happen too frequently," Morales said. "It is something for the family to get together and do."

Clinicas staffer Carmen Borjon, dressed as a clown and leading kids in a game, said she was happy to take part.

"I think it is a good event for the kids because they know we are here to celebrate their day," she said.

Carissa Harris, 12, of Brawley agreed it is important to celebrate kids because "they are special."

Perez said she wants to see the event become a tradition in the Imperial Valley, one that would feature a week's worth of activities shared by each of the Valley's cities.

Staff Write Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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