By Kyah Corff

Valley Star Intern

Despite the chance of rain and even some sprinkling, parents and children enjoyed family time at the SYV Touch-A-Truck event March 3 at Bethania Lutheran Church.

The benefit, which raises money for the church’s preschool and after-school programs, allows kids and adults to touch and climb onto vehicles and even honk some horns. They had choices ranging from school buses to police cars to farming equipment to ambulances, all loaned by their owners for the day.

“It’s a good place for the family to get together and the kids to have some fun,” said Camille Locklear, a mother of two who brought her husband and children to the event.

“I like honking and free candy!” said her daughter Ella, 9.

Smiling children and adults looked and touched the vehicles and participated in other activities such as face painting, bounce houses, a petting zoo, and an arts and craft booth. The California Highway Patrol booth incorporated fun and safety education with officers talking about the importance of seatbelts. A Cottage Hospital Trauma Services booth provided bicycle helmets for a deeply discounted $10 each.

After starting with a few vehicles and food stands in its first year, the event now has seemingly countless machines and activities.

Touch-A-Truck is in its third year thanks to an involved parent who came up with the event. Lisa Petersen Kekuewa has her son, Koyie, 9, in the after-school program and her daughter, Kyla, 4, in the preschool.

Three years ago, the school needed funding for a new playground and the after-school program, so Kekuewa organized Touch-A-Truck, inspired by her children’s love for anything with wheels.

The event is intended to inspire children’s and parents’ imaginations while helping them interact with their community and drawing the family together.

“I want the experience to be more than the fundraiser … the event will never go past the fact that it’s for the kids,” Kekuewa said.

The event has raised about $8,000 each year. The last two events paid for a new playground to replace a 17-year-old, dilapidated structure. This year’s funds will be focused on the after-school program that provides care for kindergarten through middle school. The preschool’s administrative board hopes to provide more enrichment programs.

“We live in a great and supportive community. It’s not just the church. It’s a really great outreach for the valley, and it brings the family in and shows it as a supportive place,” said Eileen Knotts, director of the preschool and member of the Bethania Church.

Organizers also expressed their gratitude for the volunteers, sponsors and attendees who made the event successful.

For more information or to donate, send an email to