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PNC and Balloon Festival Help Newark Children Grow Up Great

June 5, 2012






NEWARK, NJ — The Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning and PNC Bank brought a giant, 75-foot-tall hot air balloon to Vailsburg Park in Newark on Tuesday, June 5 to promote PNC’s “Grow Up Great” school readiness program with the Unified Vailsburg Services Organization.


90 pre-school children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old enjoyed the unique opportunity to step inside a giant hot air balloon and experience the thrills and visual attractions this event offers as they went outdoors to study the world around them.


A giant hot air balloon was inflated with cold air, laid on its side and securely staked to the ground, allowing the children to play inside. Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning Executive Producer Howard Freeman provided an age-appropriate lesson on the science of hot air ballooning — giving kids a chance to “Grow Up Great!”


“We have worked with Unified Vailsburg Services Organization through our PNC Grow Up Great school readiness program for a number of years and are delighted to have the opportunity to bring this unique learning experience to these wonderful children,” said Joseph Whall, Senior Vice President and Director of Client & Community Relations for PNC. “It was a lot of fun for everyone.”


“It’s all about the children and seeing their faces light up when they play inside the balloon,” said Freeman, who provided the retired balloon, one of the 100 hot air balloons that fly at the Festival, and the lesson for the children as part of the Festival’s community outreach program. “We are thrilled to provide these great kids with an experience they wouldn’t receive anywhere else.”


PNC’s Grow Up Great” program is the most comprehensive corporate-based school readiness program in the country, a multi-year $350 million investment dedicated to help produce stronger, smarter, and healthier children, families and communities, preparing young children for school and life. PNC’s Grow Up Great program awards funding to head start centers, non-profit early childhood organizations, cultural institutions and institutions of higher learning to enhance pre-school readiness for disadvantaged children.

The Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNC Bank is the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America and is the premier family entertainment event in the Northeast. Upwards of 175,000 people are expected to attend the 30th annual Festival, July 27-28-29, 2012 at Solberg Airport in Readington, NJ. For information please visit www.balloonfestival.com.


Founded in 1972 by local residents, Unified Vailsburg Services is a neighborhood-based human services and community development organization whose goal is to create a stable and compassionate community. Services include infant, pre-school and school-age child care; a summer day camp; meals-on-wheels and a variety of health services.