Schools teaming up to host Wellness Fair

IROQUOIS – Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies will be the focus of a new event, a health and wellness fair set to take place April 25 at Seaway District High School.

Presented by the joint school councils of Seaway District High School, Iroquois Public School and Morrisburg Public School, with the support of a Ministry of Education Grant, the Health and Wellness Fair is coming together well.

Display space for 16 tables is available for the fair which will take place in the cafeteria. The space is fully booked by area service providers. There should be plenty of information available for those who attend.

“It will be a great opportunity for parents to educate themselves,” said Sandra Cummins, one of the key organizers of the event. She is chair of Seaway District High School’s council.
The event is aimed at parents of children of all ages.

Through the planning phase the focus was meant to be families of the Seaway Family of Schools. However, anyone who is interested in learning about what resources are out there to support the well being of this community’s children is welcome to attend.

“When our kids were little, we had things like playgroups where we could get together with other parents for that peer support and connection,” said Cummins. “Now that our kids are in school, it’s really hard to get that parental peer support. Our hope is that this event will help us establish some useful connections.”

Participating organizations include: Champions for Kids, South Dundas Recreation, OPP, Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Green Food Program, Community Food Share, Linking Hands, Canadian Mental Health Association, Marsha Sylvia (UCDSB guidance counsellor), Laura Barclay of Lifestyle Strategies, Early Years Ontario Community Living Dundas County and the SD&G Library.

“It will be great opportunity to make connections and to have these organizations in our schools,” said Julianne Staebler, chair of Iroquois Public School council.

The evening’s wellness fair will feature guest speaker Ann Douglas. Her presentation will take place from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Seaway gym.

Douglas is a parenting author, mental health advocate and contributor to CBC Radio.

“She will share personal stories and practical tips to help children cope with stress and anxiety,” said Staebler.

She said she found Douglas through a simple search and believes she will be a great fit for the Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies theme of this wellness fair. “She’s very down to earth and accessible and I think parents will really like that.”

She pointed out that the setup is such that attendees can easily choose to peruse the wellness fair only, enjoy the guest speaker only or enjoy both.

This wellness fair is being paid for through the $3,000 grant that the schools received through their joint Pro Grant application.

A bus will be funded to transport folks from Morrisburg to Iroquois to attend. “We wanted to make this as accessible as possible for everyone who wants to attend,” said Staebler. Since the event came to be because of a joint funding application Staebler said, “It’s nice to keep up the connection between our three schools.”

“This was a great opportunity to continue the partnerships that were founded during the ARC [Accommodation Review Committee] process,” said Kirsten Gardner, chair of Morrisburg Public School council.

“Depending on the success of this wellness fair, I would definitely consider holding similar special events like this in the future,” said Cummins.