FANWOOD, NJ – On a map of New Jersey, the 1.3 square-mile borough of Fanwood can easily go unnoticed. However, the people and businesses inside the town will tell you there is much more than meets the eye.
In addition to the numerous events that take place in town throughout the summer, Fanwood Police Department hosts National Night Out in August each year. This year, the FPD strengthened the town spirit with help from volunteers.
Emily Howarth, a 20-year-old Moravian College student and 2013 SPFHS graduate, was Police Chief Richard Trigo’s go-to assistant for National Night Out this year.
As the Community Policing & Event Planning Intern in Fanwood, Howarth was able to coordinate a carnival-themed evening which attracted an above average crowd in the small town.
“My main goal was to make sure we had a bigger audience, both young kids and older kids,” Howarth said. “The hardest part was getting parents to want to come out, so I held a raffle with items donated from local businesses. It was great to see the parents get so excited as we called out numbers, they were like kids.”
By adding a dunk tank, an obstacle course, a photo booth, and games( hand-built with the help of her father, Rob), Howarth noticed a dramatic increase in attendance from previous years.
While she was able to bring in new attractions and a large crowd, it was the general enthusiasm that Howarth appreciated over all.
“Everybody who volunteers isn’t necessarily a police officer or their relative, and they aren’t forced to be there – it’s people who want to help,” she said. “I’ve noticed that these events create a community for people who don’t know each other and allow them to develop relationships that otherwise wouldn’t be able to happen. Kids can meet other middle school students before they go to high school and connect regardless if they play football, soccer, lacrosse, or aren’t involved with PAL.”
The night certainly went off without a hitch, drawing upwards of 400 people and $2,500 in donations.
Last year, Howarth received the Mayor’s Award of Achievement for her National Night Out efforts. She is entering her junior year at Moravian College where she studies psychology and business management as a member of Zeta Tau Alpha.