Kids get a jump-start with Wellness Festival

Kids get a jump-start with Wellness Festival in Barriere

Success By Six Aboriginal Engagement members Cindy Wigosh and Cheryl Thomas encourage  youngsters to join their drum circle.

Success By Six Aboriginal Engagement members Cindy Wigosh and Cheryl Thomas encourage youngsters to join their drum circle.

Even before entering Barriere Elementary School on Mar. 30, it was evident that the Festival of Wellness (called Jumpstart Your Child’s Future) was drawing many visitors judging by the number of vehicles parked on site.

Nursing Students from Thompson Rivers University, as well as Success by Six, and Barriere Elementary School all worked together organizing the fair to create awareness regarding the many different aspects of child health and development in the community for ages two to five.

There was a line-up at the registration desk for each visitor to sign in,  and then receive a ticket to be eligible for one of the great door prizes, most of which were donated.

Parents could go to the library and pick up a shopping bag filled with a number of items such as crayons, pencils, and many other things to help children prepare for school.  The children were certainly interested in the contents, as a few were spotted dumping their bag right out on the floor to examine the contents.

Thirteen exhibitors had set their booths up around the gymnasium; each one had their own table and space around them for visitors to investigate what was displayed.

The Barriere RCMP Detachment was on site and spoke with many of the parents; the youngsters were keen to chat with the police about what their job was in the community.

BC Ambulance Service and Barriere Volunteer Fire Department were present as well, and talked with many visitors.  They had on display mini paper ambulances, which drew great numbers of boys to their table, creating more enthusiasm when the youngsters found each could take one home.

The organizers of the event brought together a mix of presenters, with each one addressing a different aspect of child development; a dental program created by public health called ‘Lift Your Lip’, a height and weight station, and several Barriere organizations representing a variety of services for families.

Carla Long, Jamie Van Wyk, Kaela  Pozsgay and Michelle Mattice had chosen this fair as their project required as a part of the TRU Nurses Training program,  The group said that they had considered different choices, but this event was a pilot program and offered opportunities for parents to access assistance for child development within their community.

District of Barriere Councilor Virginia Smith, attended as a visitor to the event.  “I felt the fair was well organized, and the exhibits were not only interesting, but they were also helpful for parents to know how and where to access help when required,” commented Smith, “I thought it was amazing that so many people had worked together and had presented a community event to benefit young families.  I thought the drumming circle was great; it drew many youngsters and kept them interested.  The day was a job well done on all accounts.”