Take the wheel at Transportation Fair

Make a stop at Saturday's Transportation Fair . Sponsored by PAIIR, School Readiness and Rochester Public Works, the popular annual event features 40 modes of transportation. Now in its 18th year, kids of all ages are encouraged to sit in the driver's seat and pretend to drive all the fast cars, big trucks and powerful bulldozers.

"It's a fun, free event for the entire family," says Peggy O'Toole-Martin, PAIIR program manager. "The good thing is you can spend a half hour or three hours exploring. It's a fun and educational thing for families to do together."

The Rochester Area Brain Injury Community Committee also will be on-site, sharing information on the importance of wearing bike helmets, as well as doing helmet fittings to ensure proper fit.

"Definitely bring your helmet along," O'Toole-Martin says.

PAIIR is Rochester's Early Childhood Family Education program. Parents Are Important In Rochester offers one-time and ongoing morning, afternoon, evening and online parent-child and parent-only classes and support groups to families of infants, toddlers and preschoolers.


Classes are offered at various locations throughout Rochester and are taught by early childhood staff and licensed parent educators. PAIIR classes are open to all families. Financial assistance is available.

"We offer something for every parent. We offer a class for families parenting across cultures. We also offer a drop-in class (TGIF) on Fridays that's a great way to try PAIIR without making a big commitment," O'Toole-Martin says. "Our goal is to reach all families in the community."

Registration is currently under way for PAIIR's spring-summer semester. Current class offerings include Positive Discipline with Young Children, School Success Strategies for Young Learners, and Toddler Together Time. Parents can check out all the offerings online in the newsletter.

"We have around 3,000 children and 2,700 parents participate in our various programs and activities every year," O'Toole-Martin says. "It's a great way to make friends, get information, and get that support for parenting that all of us need."


There's hope

Families of individuals who live with a mental illness are invited to NAMI's Hope for Recovery Workshop. Held 9 am. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Community Celebration Church, 27401 County Highway 34, in Kasson, the free, one-day workshop provides information on mental health diagnoses, treatments and local resources as well as the opportunity to meet other family members who share in a similar situation.

Call NAMI, 287-1692, to save your spot. Visit Nami's website for more information and to find out about other NAMI programs.



Outdoor fun

Have fun while supporting a good cause at the Friends of Oxbow 2012 Spring FunFest. Family members of all ages will enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides, presentations by the National Eagle Center, bingo, balloon animals, birdhouse building and more.

Held 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, there is no cost for admission or for most activities.

An annual Friends of Oxbow Park event, any Spring FunFest donations received go toward future zoo projects.

Call 775-2451 or visit the Oxbo website to find out more about this and other Oxbow offerings.


Fine feathered friends


Say hello to a variety of feathered friends during Chester Woods' Bird Safari. Held at 6 p.m. May 22 at Chester Woods Park, 8378 U.S. 14 E., in Eyota, family members of all ages are invited to meet at Picnic Shelter No. 1 and then make their way through some of Chester Woods' trails with naturalist and Zumbro Valley Audubon Society president Joel Dunnette.

The program is free. Admission to the park requires daily pass ($5) or annual pass ($25).

Reservations required; space is limited. Call 287-2624 to reserve your spot. Visit the Chester Wood's website for more information on this and other Chester Woods activities.


Hammer time

There's plenty of hands-on learning available at the Kick Start Your Construction Skills classes.

Held at Lowe's, 4550 Maine Ave. S.E., the classes are great training opportunities for family members interested in volunteering for Habitat for Humanity home construction projects. Clinics are free and run 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. They include framing (May 19), June 16 (power tools) and siding (June 23).

Clinic participants must be 16 years or older. Space is limited; reservations required. Email Patricia McCleese, program manager, Rochester Area Habitat for Humanity at to secure your spot.

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