GALLIPOLIS — The Gallia Citizens for Prevention and Recovery Carnival of Hope returns to Gallipolis City Park this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. as it continues on the mission and memory of passed carnival organizer Marvin Vanderberg.
The event is free and open to the public.
Vanderberg was the treasurer of the anti-drug coalition Gallia Citizens for Prevention and Recovery Coalition and died January 27 of this year. While being an ardent supporter of the Gallia Republican Party, manning its headquarters during election season, he also was the president of the Gallipolis Neighborhood Crime Watch. He was also a chairperson of entertainment for the Gallia Senior Citizens organization. He was a Navy veteran of the Korean War.
“Marvin was sitting one day and said he wanted to have something at the park for the kids and something that’s not just (addiction) recovery but focused on (substance abuse) prevention,” said Marvin’s wife, Nancy Vanderberg. “We decided we’d do that. So a group of us got together and named it the Carnival of Hope.”
The first event was held April 21 of last year and had games, informational booths, giveaways, free hotdogs and a DJ. These are anticipated to return this year.
The event has been geared towards school age students between the ages of eighth grade to senior year as coalition members feel these are the most impressionable ages where teens may begin to experiment with substances. Organizations from all walks of life are anticipated to be present, compromised of faith-based organizations, area law enforcement, government, healthcare and civic organizations among a few.
“He would be ecstatic and excited to have the event and I would have been way busier than I am right now, let me tell you,” Nancy joked. “He was a planner and he planned a lot of (the carnival). He had even been planning for it up until he died.”
“We really like having the kids involved because they’re the next generation of leaders, you know,” said Marvin of the event last year. “We’re here to offer advice where we can, but the choice is up to them and we hope they make the right one.”
The Gallia CPR coalition consists of area nonprofits such as God’s Hands at Work, the Field of Hope Community Campus, as well as behavioral health organizations such as Wing Haven, Health Recovery Services, the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office, the Gallia County Prosecutor’s Office, Gallipolis Neighborhood Watch, Holzer Health System, Gallipolis City Commission, the Gallia County Health Department and more. With the goal of fighting drug abuse in Gallia, the group commonly meets the second Monday of the month at noon in various rooms at Holzer Medical Center. The group can be reached at its Facebook page.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.