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Hands Around the Park draws crowd to Ontario to celebrate recovery, show support

From left: Paula Olvera, Ron Van Ausdal, and Judi Trask, part of the team at Lifeways which puts on Hands Around the Park. (LILIANA FRANKEL/The Enterprise)

ONTARIO – Ontario’s Laxson Park bumped with family-friendly songs, the happy cries of children, and the periodic splashes of the dunk tank last week as prevention advocates hosted the 17th annual Hands Around the Park event. 

The event on Thursday, Sept. 16, is meant as a show of community solidarity with those in recovery from mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders. It was canceled last year for Covid.

This year, it returned in full force – with some modifications. 

A few attendees wore face masks. And the moment which gave the event its name – during which attendees would join hands around the park’s perimeter – was . . .