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Posted on Jul 23, 2015

National Night Out coming on Aug. 3

By Helena Avalos

National Night Out/ Family Fun in the Park, isn’t something I do in life that I can just slap on a piece of paper, turn into my senior advisor and call it a day.
It’s so much more than a simple high school project.
When my junior year ended, I asked myself what I wanted to do for my senior project. What can I give to my community? And then it hit me. You know that feeling you get when you make others happy? Yes, that is what I wanted!
Before I continue, let me tell you about myself (only the good stuff of course). My name is Helena Avalos. I am 17 years old. I love my family, and I work two part-time jobs and take two online classes, all of which allow me a social life of zero. Knowing all that, you must be thinking that choosing now of all times to plan a national kick-start block party is probably the most ridiculous idea I could possibly have. Believe me when I say I agree 100 percent; however, despite that, I don’t regret it one bit.
National Night Out/Family Fun in the Park is a community event where the entire city is invited to gather, mingle and enjoy multiple activities. There are booths for local businesses and community groups that provide you with information of what is available in our community; we provide fun games and activities for children, as well as the child inside of us all. But let’s not forget the best part of all – we provide free food. We create a healthy, substance-free and fun alternative way to spend time with your neighbors. The event is sponsored by businesses, corporations and many volunteers who work long hours to help make this the event of the summer.
The people I’m working with are the best. Luis Camacho and Adriana Lerena have been incredibly supportive and share the weight of the project with me. Maddie Sanchez, executive director of Communities that Care, is just a party in a person. She’s always there when she’s needed. Might I mention, I absolutely love being around her.
Quincy Officer Julie Fuller has got to be one of the strongest female inspirations in my life. She works hard, gets stuff done, is organized and on time, and is always a delight to be with. Officer Alex Bushy also has been a pleasure. He never leaves a great idea out of the picture and is always getting what needs to be done — completely and very well done.
Meanwhile Erik Talbot, Quincy’s animal control officer, is an incredibly different kind of help. Erik has been the fastest friend I have ever made. I met him at my first meeting with Officer Fuller and I immediately enjoyed his character. He began by getting my age wrong and continued with the butchering of my name, all of which just makes our friendship the most unique. He insults me with compliments that leave me even more confused than the next guy. Erik has taught me important things to know in life, despite the fact that he met me only about two weeks ago.
Now that you see how great the National Night Out crew is, you can tell why we endure long packets of proofreading, hours of multiple phone calls, and long planning times. We love our town, and we love “Opportunities Unlimited.”
Please join us from 5 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 3 at Simmons Park (Behind the Reiman-Simmons House) with your family for a great time with friends and community.
Helena Avalos is a senior at Quincy High School. She is helping organize the upcoming National Night Out event as part of her senior project. The event is coordinated by the Quincy Communities that Care coalition, Quincy Youth Action and the Quincy Police Department.