Success StoryGrinchmas on Ice



Grinchmas on Ice

Author: Kayla Watts

Planning Unit: Breathitt County CES

Major Program: Flood Relief & Recovery

Plan of Work: Active Living and Health Promotions

Outcome: Initial Outcome

July 26-30, 2022, were historic flooding days for Eastern Kentucky.  Some areas experienced more than 4” of rain an hour which led to 39 deaths and catastrophic damage.  The American Psychiatric Association reports that adult common reactions after a disaster include sadness, depression, hyperactivity, irritability, anger, and a whole host of other physical/emotional reactions. The July traumatic event, coupled with Kentucky’s high adult mental health rates left some citizens of Breathitt County feeling hopeless.  With the holidays approaching at the end of 2022, some citizens were still living in travel trailers, and wondering how they could make the upcoming holidays special for their families.

 

To provide hope and a mental health break, Breathitt County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences Education, Kayla Watts, partnered with the Breathitt County Public Library, and hosted a four-day, free, family ice-skating program entitled “Grinchmas on Ice.”  This free ice-skating event took place in the Breathitt County Extension Office parking lot.   The public library hosted holiday themed story nights (The Grinch), and various volunteer groups connected to Cooperative Extension, hosted a concessions trailer and holiday characters for families to enjoy, each night at the skating rink.


1,267 individuals (adults and children combined) signed-in to skate at the ice-rink.  Several guardians, city and county leaders, District Board members, Mayor, and the like attended the festivities and supported the event.  Families came and spent hours at the rink, enjoying a free holiday activity.  Most participants had never ice-skated before, and community members were very excited for the opportunity.  A city official stated, “This is a wonderful event for our people, after they have been through so much and continue to suffer during the flood recovery process.” 


The “Grinchmas on Ice,” ice-skating program was highly successful and local leaders have already asked that it be repeated in 2023.  This program was a way that the Cooperative Extension Service and the Public Library could offer an evening of fun for families that are still affected by the mental health issues surrounding the traumatic flooding of 2022.






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