<b>SCHOOLS | </b>By Ashley Stewart Herald writer
Organizations from around Snohomish County came together last week to provide more than 600 low-income students with school supplies and health resources at the Edmonds School District’s annual Back to School Health and Resource Fair.
Carmen Rasmussen, program coordinator of Family Center of South Snohomish County, has been organizing the event for the last three years.
“It’s such a great event because it builds on great partnerships in the community,” Rasmussen said. “It really pulls everyone together.”
When last year’s attendance reached 1,000 students, organizers decided to scale back the number of students in order to increase the services they offered.
The 655 students who attended the Aug. 9 event had access to more health services than in the previous year.
Volunteers from the Community Health Center of Snohomish County provided students with free vision and dental screenings, fluoride varnishes, blood pressure, height and weight checks, vaccinations and access to nutritional information.
Organizers encouraged students to visit the health resources by handing out a Sounders cinch sack to those who received at least three of the services.
The center, which was just one of the stops at the fair, administered 37 vaccinations, 81 dental screenings and gave out 150 cinch sacks.
“There are so many organizations and services trying to make sure that, no matter the status of a family or their income level, there are resources,” said Luanne Kay, the center’s marketing and public relations manager. “We can make them aware of how to access those resources.”
Karen Van Hoose, a registered dietician, brought along rubber models of proper serving sizes for children, nutriitional handouts, and Crisco- and sugar-filled vials to show the amount of fat or sugar in common foods.
She said that the kids seemed really receptive to learning about nutrition in this way.
Students had access to free haircuts from Zed Aschenaki, owner of Salon Adidez, who volunteered her services.
Kebbin Brooks, mother of Westgate Elementary students Asher, 11, and River, 6, was grateful for the opportunity.
“Haircuts are expensive nowadays,” Brooks said. “This really helps.”
The event gave organizations around the county the opportunity to provide free services to both the students and their families.
Volunteers from the Snohomish Health District administered free whooping cough vaccinations to adults.
Julie Vincent and her partner Anna Arnott received the vaccination while their niece, Kashia, 6, got school supplies and an apple from the school meals program.
“She got a lot of good stuff to help get her prepared,” Vincent said.
The Verdant Health Commission and Windermere Real Estate provided funding for backpacks, school supplies, facility rental and health supplies.
Sno-Isle Libraries, YMCA, Clothes for Kids, Compass Health, Snohomish County Development District and other organizations also attended.