Kids First celebrates 15 years in Alabaster

Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon, center, and Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers, right celebrate during an April 12 block party at Kids First and the Shelby County Instructional Services Center. (Contributed)

Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon, center, and Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers, right celebrate during an April 12 block party at Kids First and the Shelby County Instructional Services Center. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

For Kids First Awareness Learning Center Executive Director Cindy Hawkins, few things have symbolized Alabaster’s community spirit than the center’s 15th family block party.

“It was such a happy day. It was one of the best days we’ve had in ever,” Hawkins said with a laugh during an April 22 phone interview. “I’m happy to have a way to get people together as a community.”

Kids First, an afterschool program for at-risk youth off Shelby County 11 in Alabaster’s Simmsvile community, celebrated 15 years of helping kids reach their goals and go on to lead successful lives during the April 12 block party.

The party, which was attended by Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon, Alabaster firefighter Eric Marcus, Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers, Alabama Board of Education member Ella Bell and hundreds more, featured several speakers and events aimed at promoting community togetherness, Hawkins said.

“The theme of the event was change through music, education and fitness,” Hawkins said.

The celebration featured a positive rap song created by Kids First members, a rocket demonstration and a community relay race and dance. Hawkins said she and Handlon caught one of the city’s police officers off guard after wrangling him into a blindfolded relay race.

“When they got out there, I said ‘Oh, I forgot to tell you that you’re going to be blindfolded,’” Hawkins said with a laugh. “They all looked so shocked.”

The event also featured a drum circle, the Choice bus, food and a live concert by Kids First students and youth from Hunter Street Baptist Church.

Hawkins said it was the perfect way to celebrate the center’s history serving the city.

“It was just a great day to work together to make a positive change in our community,” Hawkins said.