Khaliya Mohamed plays at the duck station with Mirna Al Jasem at the Ontario refugee center's family carnival on July 23, 2021. (ANGELINA KATSANIS/The Enterprise)

ONTARIO - As part of their summer events, Ontario's Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization hosted its first family carnival in the Beck-Kiwanis Park Friday, and kids and adults alike had a blast winning prizes, eating treats and playing at the various stations.

The Oregon Department of Education had money left over due to Covid and last summer's quarantine, said Renee Cummings, the refugee organization's director.

"Because so many families had been stuck inside, we got this grant for families to get outside and spend time together," Cummings said.

Though the Ontario branch started only three years ago, it has expanded very quickly, helping families, mostly from the Middle East and Africa, find housing and work, file bills and paperwork, and get help with anything else they need.

"Ontario is a lot more welcoming than people think it is. And the kids absolutely love it here," said Youth Mentor Janice Castellon.

Annie Gomez, 7, hits the high striker with all her force at the refugee center carnival on July 23, 2021. (ANGELINA KATSANIS/The Enterprise)

Khalid Mohamed, 5, licks the juice of his orange Sno-cone from his fingers at the refugee center's family carnival on July 23, 2021. (ANGELINA KATSANIS/The Enterprise)

Julia, a refugee center employee, plays with 10-month-old Olivia Duncan at the refugee center's family carnival on July 23, 2021. (ANGELINA KATSANIS/The Enterprise)

Mirna Al Jasem, 20 months old, plays with the rubber ducks at the refugee center's family carnival on July 23, 2021. (ANGELINA KATSANIS/The Enterprise)

Mohammad Alhussain (left) and Ahmad Alhohamad play their hand at the ring toss station at the refugee center's family carnival on July 23, 2021. (ANGELINA KATSANIS/The Enterprise)

Khaliya Mohamed, 3, and Safa Ilmy make a critter creation out of vegetables at the refugee center's family carnival on July 23, 2021. (ANGELINA KATSANIS/The Enterprise)

Miassar Alhussain, 3, hits the bowling pins at the refugee center's family carnival on July 23, 2021. (ANGELINA KATSANIS/The Enterprise)

Attendees each received a ticket that listed all the games at the family carnival to get them checked off by a staff member after attending each station. (ANGELINA KATSANIS/The Enterprise)

The carnival included a cake walk for participants such as KayLani Rodriguez to win homemade cupcakes made by two refugee center staffers, Julia and Monica. (ANGELINA KATSANIS/The Enterprise)

A girl constructs a face out of a potato, kale and tomatoes at the refugee center's carnival on July 23, 2021. (ANGELINA KATSANIS/The Enterprise)

Khaliya Mohamed watches a fly buzz around the fruit station. (ANGELINA KATSANIS/The Enterprise)

Renee Cummings, the director of the refugee center, points to different "critter creations" that the family carnival attendees made out of fruits and vegetables on July 23, 2021. (ANGELINA KATSANIS/The Enterprise)

Mirna Al Jasem, 20 months old, plays with the ducks at the refugee center's carnival on July 23, 2021. (ANGELINA KATSANIS/The Enterprise)

News tip or photo idea? Contact multimedia journalist Angelina Katsanis at [email protected]

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