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Free Aug. 28 event invites community to enjoy arts and crafts, touch-a-truck experience, and witness mural painting on the bridge near Manchester soccer fields

Pictured is the bridge where a mural is to be painted.

The Coffee County Children’s Advocacy Center invites the community to attend the “Join Our Quest” event, set for Saturday, Aug. 28, at the Manchester Soccer Complex.

The Coffee County CAC has partnered with artist Troy Freeman to paint a mural on the Waite Street bridge facing the soccer fields, thanks to grants received from the Tennessee Arts Commission and Manchester Tourism Committee. Freeman will be working on the mural, which will promote child safety, starting Aug. 27, with Aug. 28 filled with activities for children and families. Free canvases will be provided for children to decorate, and the completed artworks will be exhibited at the Manchester Arts Center.

Vendors will offer arts and crafts and baked goods on the greenway at the soccer fields. Stroll the greenway, enjoy chatting with vendors, purchase some goods and walk to the bridge, where you can see paint transforming the bridge into a colorful and meaningful art piece. Vendors will set up their booths, starting at 8 a.m., Aug. 28.

Coffee County Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Manchester Police Department (MPD) and Manchester Fire and Rescue will present a touch-a-truck event, set for 9-11 a.m., for children and families to explore fire trucks, police cars and an ambulance.

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Enjoy Mexican dishes and succulent BBQ, as El Oro Verde and Ray Ray’s Smokehouse will offer delicious food for purchase.

The Coffee County CAC will provide free canvases for children. The art kits will be available 9-11 a.m.

“We will encourage children to use their imagination and create art pieces, following the ‘Join Our Quest to Keep Kids Safe and Happy’ theme,” said Executive Director of Coffee County CAC Joyce Prusak. “We have partnered with the Manchester Arts Center, and the artworks will be displayed at the center Sept. 10-11.”

Members of United Way of Highway 55 will also be on hand to provide information about local nonprofits.

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“We are so thankful for the grants we have received to be able to provide this free event to community members,” Prusak said. “The support of the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Manchester Tourism Committee means so much and shows that child safety and child abuse prevention should be a priority. The aid we’ve seen gives us confidence we can prevent and end child abuse.”  

Prusak expressed appreciation for the participation of all vendors and for the support of EMS, MPD, fire department and the Manchester Department of Parks and Recreation.

“We are also thrilled to partner with Troy Freeman,” Prusak said. “Troy is very talented, and we admire his work. Troy has more than 20 years of experience. He has completed numerous projects in Tennessee.”

One of the projects he is involved with is Everywhere You Look, UT mural project. The University of Tennessee launched the art endeavor, planning to install a mural in every county of Tennessee.

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“Troy’s talent will help us raise awareness of child abuse,” Prusak said. “The biggest challenge organizations fighting child abuse face is lack of awareness because of the confidential nature of the cases. Last year, of the 347 referrals received for services in Coffee County, 40% of the children were 6 years old or younger, 36% between the ages of 7 and 12, and 24% were between 13 and 18. Organizations helping those children can’t talk about the cases. This art project will bring attention to the importance of child safety. We are asking the community to join our quest to a society without child abuse.”

About Coffee County CAC

When the most vulnerable members of the community are harmed, they find a safe place and support at the Coffee County Children’s Advocacy Center. The Coffee County CAC serves children who are victims of severe abuse through prevention, education and intervention.

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