AKRON  Walking into the well attended Summit for Kids Expo, it was obvious the kids were having a great time. With more than 16,000 in attendance, it was a loud explosion of happiness.

August was Summit Kids Month and on Aug. 19, it was all about the kids during the expo. Summit Kids Month focused on child health and wellness, safety and early childhood education. During the month, each week, there was a new focus and theme which was important to the welfare of Summit County children. Week one was "New Beginnings Week;" week two "Health and Wellness Week;" week three was "Family Week;" and the kids month ended with "Child Safety Week".

This was the eight year for the expo, which was free to the public and held at the John S. Knight Center.

Aiden Dine, of Hudson, was the recipient of the 2017 Summit for Kids Russ Pry Youth Award at the 2017 Summit for Kids Breakfast which was held before the Kids Expo opened. Dine was chosen for the award by the Summit for Kids Russ Pry Youth Award judging panel because of his dedicated work toward helping adults and children living with diabetes. Dine, at 12 years old, has raised more than $10,000 through fundraisers with the American Diabetes Association. He has also visited Capitol Hill to support programs focusing on healthy food for underserved Ohioans, and has represented American youth combating diabetes. The annual Summit for Kids Russ Pry Youth Award recognizes an outstanding individual under 21 years of age who has created or collaborated with a program that focuses on enriching the lives of young people and making a difference in their community.

As kids entered the Knight Center for the Expo, they were given a backpack with school supplies and they hurried on their way to have fun and collect more goodies for their back packs. The Akron Fire Safety House was loaded with kids learning more about how to escape a burning home. The Ronald McDonald van was in place giving free dental exams, Children's Hospital provided medical services and there was plenty of fun entertainment including the Ellet High School Band. Kids had the opportunity to see Marvel’s Spider-man, Daniel Tiger from PBS and the Minions look-alikes.

County Executive Irene Shapiro stated in a press release that, "Focusing on early childhood initiatives such as education, health and wellness is an imperative part of a larger strategy focusing on our children in Summit County."

Shapiro also stated that Summit Kids Month provides numerous opportunities for families to engage in activities focusing on the well-being of their children and family, which in turn helps to build a stronger foundation for our community.