Guest post by Marina Zaitshik, 17-year-old daughter of Wade Shows Owner Frank Zaitshik.
With such tough economic times, I know that I am not alone in wanting to help others that are currently struggling. Since middle school I have volunteered at Metropolitan Ministries and other charitable organizations from time to time. I enjoyed volunteering but always left my shift feeling like I could do something more. Time passed and normal teenage things temporarily pushed this feeling to the back of my mind.
This “do something” feeling was brought forward again around Christmastime when my dad, Frank Zaitshik, mentioned an idea he had. It was simple: use our carnival, Wade Shows, to provide a completely free event for disadvantaged youth.
Fast forward four years later and I am proud to say this idea has become a reality! In February, my dad shared his idea with Chuck Peasano, Executive Director of the Florida State Fair Authority. The idea made headway and the Florida State Fair Authority ran with it!
In October our first meeting was held and I was so impressed with all the progress. Wade Shows officially teamed up with the Florida State Fair Authority, the Florida Department of Children and Families, Eckerd and other Community Based Care Organizations to plan Miles of Smiles for Kids: A Holiday Carnival for Hope.
We secured the location, the staff, the kids and even sponsors. The event has grown so rapidly and we are now expecting around 13,000 kids! Foster/adopted children, children from economically challenged families and other disadvantaged youth from the SunCoast Region are all invited to Miles of Smiles. There will be rides, various entertainment, food and games. No detail will be spared at this event and all of the children will receive the full fair and carnival experience.
The Miles of Smiles for Kids carnival will be at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa on:
- Friday, Dec. 14 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 15 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 16 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
I am honored to be a part of the first annual Mile of Smiles for Kids. Our company and the carnival industry as a whole have given me and my family so many opportunities and blessings. It is cool to be able to put on this event to help others. I am grateful for all of the hardworking people that have signed on to make this event a success. Miles of Smiles has taught me to never give up on an idea because that idea can become a reality!