The Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Fall Festival for students of Scuola Vita Nuova Charter School (SVN) on Wednesday, October 27.
Kindergarten through fourth grade students enjoyed coloring pumpkins and having their faces painted by artists from Pendleton ArtsBlock.
“It’s just great because this is their community, like we are a neighborhood school so these are the businesses that they go to, these are the people that they interact with,” said SVN K-4 Principal Allyson Thurston. “It’s so great for them to see that support in their school building and make that connection from school to the community, ‘These are places that I go, but they care about where I go to school, too.’”
SVN, at 535 Garfield Ave., which neighbors Independence Plaza Park to the east, is in the Pendleton Heights neighborhood. On the other side of the park, Pendleton ArtsBlock is home to artists of many mediums and a variety of talents.
“We’ve started doing more and more, with the ArtsBlock we had students that have done different drawings that then artists have taken and turned into amazing masterpieces that have been showcased at PH Coffee, and so that’s been really exciting,” Thurston said.
Last year, they partnered with the Chamber and Independence Avenue Community Improvement District (CID) for a fall event for students in the park.
“The kids loved it so much that I reached out to Bobbi Baker to see if they’d be able to do this again,” Thurston said. “I feel like we’re just at the beginning of this great relationship and doing more things. I know for the parents, too, they love to see their kids involved in things in the neighborhood, so I think the more we can grow that partnership, the better it can be.”
The Chamber boasts a membership of diverse businesses owned by both long-time Kansas Citians and new Americans.
“We do fun stuff like this because our businesses know that these kiddos are future business owners, they are the future of Northeast,” said Bobbi Baker-Hughes, president and CEO of the Chamber and manager of the CID. “It’s important to start supporting them from this age and younger, all the way up until they start working and being a part of continued economic development.”
Students also got to go trick-or-treating at different stations set up by the Northeast News and the Chamber. Due to rain, the event was brought inside and many of the activities were scaled back.
“It’s super cool to be here at this event today where you see kids from around the world that their home is now the Northeast, and they are children of business owners, children of community leaders,” Baker-Hughes said. “They are the children of those people we have embraced and someday they will embrace this community, as well.”
The Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and CID support 241 businesses, which can be found in a directory at nekcchamber.com.