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ParentClick Kids and Teens Expo Slated for Saturday in Santa Barbara

Foster and adoptive families are an added focus for this year's event at La Cumbre Plaza

With 135 exhibitors setting up at La Cumbre Plaza in Santa Barbara this weekend, the ParentClick Kids and Teens Expo promises to bring the family fun locals have come to expect.

However, this year, the event's organizers have put a special emphasis on teens, as well as resources for families of foster care and adopted children.

The free event is this Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will host activities for kids, games, giveaways and live performances, as well as exhibits showcasing resources for families in the area.

Two new areas this year will be the Teen Zone and the Foster Care Support Zone, said Rachel Steidl, founder of, which organizes the event each year.

The idea behind having an area just for teens is a personal one for Steidl, who has teenagers at home.

She started ParentClick when her daughters were 2 years old, "and what I've come to realize is that parents and teens continue to need resources, it's just that the types of resources change."

Community-service hours are a big-time commitment for students in high school, and Steidl said it's always been important to her that those be meaningful hours spent, not just rushing through to mark the requirement off the list.

That's why 50 nonprofits will be at the event, and Steidl asked them to have specific information on how teens and families can get involved with whatever causes they're most interested in.

"Parents and kids are naturally drawn to the expo, but we also want to make it just as rewarding for the teenagers," she said.

Extensive foster care and adoption resources also will be a focus at the expo this year, and the ParentClick website has added a space just for resources for foster and adoptive families.

Even though the Santa Barbara community is supportive of foster and adopted children, "we still have so many children in need, and what we want to show with the expo every family can offer support," Steidl said.

Though bringing a child into a home may not be for everyone, anyone can support foster families, she said, "even if that is doing something as simple as a dinner for a family. We want to show them how they can do that."

Many organizations will be on hand to show support for families who are already caring for foster or adopted children. 

For example, Steidl said, many organizations are offering reduced-cost enrichment activities such as music lessons for children in the foster system.

Angels Foster Care, Arrow Child & Family Ministries, Family Care Network Inc. and Royal Family Kids' Camp are just a few of the organizations that will have exhibits at the event.

Becca McNees, director of Royal Family Kids Camp, said this is the group's first year appearing at the expo, and the organization is excited to sign up foster children for camp. The camp gives Santa Barbara County foster children, ages 6 to 12, a free, week-long summer camp experience.

At Saturday's event, "we're hoping to get some applications into the hands of foster parents," she said.

Campers also qualify for a year-long mentoring program through Royal Family.

"I think the great thing that ParentClick has done is try to coordinate all theses resources for families," she said.

A bone marrow drive also will be taking place on site, as well as fingerprinting for children.

Also featured this year are live performances from a variety of local acts, taking place from 9:45 a.m. to 2 p.m., including MaryGrace Langhorne, 2014's SB Teen Star of the Year, and the Goleta Valley Junior High Show Choir.

La Cumbre Plaza is located at 121 S. Hope Ave.

Click here for a full lineup and details of Saturday's event.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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