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Competition of Wonders celebrates kids, raises consciousness – jj
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Competition of Wonders celebrates kids, raises consciousness

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Whether or not it’s a small world after all depends on your perspective, but Friday evening’s Festival of Wonders on the Pulaski Judicial Center Plaza made great strides in bringing communities on different continents closer together.

Festival of Wonders was a free family event organized by Somerset native Amy Correll Hehre, founder and CEO of OVI Children’s Hospital in Kenya. Hehre was back visiting in the United States this month to introduce her daughter Lily, whose adoption was recently completed, to family.

The 2010 Pulaski High School Graduate was 20 and volunteering in Africa where she got to see first-hand the plight of children like Lily who get abandoned and have no access to medical care.

Graduating from the University of Kentucky’s Physician Assistant Studies Program, Hehre and her husband Robert were able to open the 60-bed hospital for children up to the age of 18 in December 2017. Each unit has a Disney-inspired theme, and Festival organizers worked to similarly transform the Judicial Plaza. Beyond decorating booths, participants themselves dressed as characters such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Winnie the Pooh.

“Everything you saw on the plaza corresponds to one of our units,” Hehre said. “We do Disney year-round. We really have a Neverland, an Enchanted Tiki Room and more. By visiting each, you could learn more about the hospital and how to get involved.

“The biggest goal was to raise awareness so it went really well,” she said of the festival’s success. “People were asking about what we do and how they can get involved. It was also great to see the community come together and the impact on kids here, some of whom had never seen Mickey Mouse in person. We’re hoping it will really stay with them.”

To learn more, visit ovinternational.org.

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