Marines and Sailors of the Tri-command participated in the 22nd annual Kids Fest in Beaufort, S.C. April 7.

The Parris Island Marine Band performs at Kids Fest in downtown Beaufort, April 7. Kids Fest was held to help raise awareness for Month of the Military Child and Child Abuse Prevention Month. The event was sponsored by Marine Corps Community Services.

Kids Fest is held to celebrate the month of the military child with the local community and to raise awareness for child abuse prevention month.

“This event is a partnership between the Marine Corps and the community. We held it out in town so we could help spread more awareness for why this month is important, “said Megan Grabowski, a prevention and education specialist with the Family Advocacy Program. “Military members are also community members so it’s crucial  that we recognize that bond and help highlight its importance.”

A firefighter demonstrates fire safety to a local child during Kids Fest in downtown Beaufort, April 7. April is Month of the Military Child and Child Abuse Prevention Month. The firefighter is with Beaufort County Fire and Rescue.

The festival was sponsored by organizations in the Marine Corps as well as the community. Marine Wing Support Detachment 31 brought several of their vehicles to the event so kids could get a glimpse of Marine Corps equipment. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources had an interactive booth where kids could go “fishing” while learning more about the different animals
and plants that are native to the state.

Helping run the event with MCCS were Navy and Marine Corps volunteers from across the Tri-command. The volunteers did everything from settting up booths to escorting an assortment of characters around the event. They also assisted different vendors with their presentations.

“We have roughly 60 service members volunteering with us today. They’re doing everything from dressing up and walking around as characters, directing traffic, picking up trash and everything in between,” said Grabowski. “Today has gone off without a hitch because of the hard work of these volunteers. Whenever we need volunteers for our events, the Marines and Sailors always step up.”

A Marine gives a child a demonstration of a Humvee at Kids Fest in downtown Beaufort, April 7. Kids Fest was held to help raise awareness for Month of the Military Child and Child Abuse Prevention Month. The event was sponsored by Marine Corps Community Services.

According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, the definition of child abuse and neglect refers specifically to parents and other caregivers whose actions or inactions result in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, exploitation, or which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.

“It’s great that this festival has been going on for more than two decades. Its message of making sure that our children are safe and helping them succeed pertains to not only the military, but civilians as well,” said Col. Timothy Miller, the commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. “We are all responsible for the safety of our children and creating an environment where they can grow and succeed. When we invest in our kids, we invest in our future.”