Families enjoyed a weekend of fun and helping others at Children & Families of Iowa’s (CFI) Kidsfest, presented by Veridian Credit Union, raising $148,000 for programs that help at-risk families.

Held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds Varied Industries Building, attendees enjoyed child-friendly exhibitors and activities. Exciting attractions included two new stage shows featuring ventriloquist Lisa Laird and friends from Pockets Full of Fun; and “The Weather Dude” Nick Walker. Also new this year was the addition of two private parties, one with the Snow Queen and Ice Princess and another with Superheroes.

“We are incredibly grateful for the community’s continued support of Kidsfest,” says Amy Stapp-Arpy, Children & Families of Iowa’s Chief Development Officer and Vice President of Development and Communications. “The support from our sponsors, exhibitors and attendees help us provide crucial funding for some of Iowa’s most at-risk children and families.”

Support from those who attended the event will help individuals like Tori* find hope for a better life. If you saw Tori today, you would see a bright, ambitious, determined 17-year-old girl who is excited to see what the future holds. But it wasn’t always that way. Tori had to work hard to overcome trauma.

Tori’s childhood memories are filled with violence and neglect. Her parents were addicted to drugs, and verbally and physically abusive to her and to each other. When Tori was 11 years old, her parents were arrested, and she was removed from their home and placed in foster care. Fortunately there was a CFI family service center close to her foster home near Fort Dodge where Tori started meeting with a CFI pediatric therapist.

CFI helped Tori overcome the negative image she had of herself, and on processing the trauma she experienced growing up. When she was fifteen years old, Tori was adopted by her foster family, who provided her with the loving, safe home she had spent her life looking for. “Counseling has helped shape me into the person I am today: self-reliant, smart, semi-confident, brave and loved,” says Tori.

*Name has been changed to protect client confidentiality.

Last year, CFI helped more than 25,600 individuals throughout Iowa with many family-centered services. Thanks to community support, including Kidsfest sponsors, exhibitors and attendees, CFI will be able to use funds raised to help support the programs that help families in crisis.

Many sponsors were key to making this event a success. We appreciate the support of our presenting sponsor Veridian Credit Union; our media sponsors KCCI TV 8, Cumulus Media, and Register Media; and our supporting sponsors Fareway, GuideOne Insurance, Iowa School of Beauty, United Healthcare and Wells Fargo.

Next year’s Kidsfest is scheduled for March 4-6, 2016. For more information, please visit CFI’s website at www.cfiowa.org or like Children & Families of Iowa’s Kidsfest, presented by Veridian Credi Union on Facebook.

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