Free and fun, but so much more. That’s what guests will find at Saturday’s Youth & Family Wellness Fair. A mixed bag of kid-pleasing attractions — Son of the Reptile Man and singer Tim Noah — plus help with weighty issues for parents and teens, the fair will also offer haircuts, dental care, family photos, games, giveaways and a free lunch for all.
Organized by Snohomish County Human Services in partnership with other agencies, the third annual Youth & Family Wellness Fair is scheduled for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at Everett’s Evergreen Middle School. To help people get there, Everett Transit bus service will be free for the day.
Bullying, suicide prevention, immigration rights, substance abuse and other serious topics will be covered during workshops throughout the day.
Noah, a local songwriter, author and children’s entertainer, will perform a kick-off concert at 10:30 a.m. And Isaac Petersen, owner of the Reptile Zoo in Monroe and son of Reptile Man Scott Petersen, plans to bring about eight critters to his 1 p.m. appearance Saturday.
Petersen, 30, expects to wow kids with a 5-foot alligator, a Cuban rock iguana, a Burmese python, a cobra and a tortoise. “They’re really exotic animals people don’t usually get to see. They’re mysterious,” Petersen said Wednesday at the zoo that hosts about 40,000 visitors a year.
He grew up helping his dad at the attraction along U.S. 2, which also serves as a reptile refuge. Some animals there were former pets rescued by the facility. Former biology teacher Scott Petersen, 57, continues his Reptile Man role, taking animals to school assemblies and other events here and around the state.
Along with good times for kids — art activities, face painting, a bike rodeo and basketball — there will be three dental vans, haircuts provided by Everett Community College’s cosmetology program and free lunches from Mazatlan Mexican Restaurant and a hot dog vendor.
Jennifer Hudson, a mental health support specialist at Lake Stevens High School, will present a 1 p.m. workshop titled Understanding Trauma and Finding Resiliency. Hudson said her district will also be represented Saturday by Steve Pitkin, a substance abuse prevention and intervention specialist serving Lake Stevens High School and Cavelero Mid High. Also, she said, Lake Stevens teens involved in a suicide prevention “Lantern Group” will be there.
“I do hear a lot of teachers and even counselors say they are seeing more mental health needs,” Hudson said Wednesday. Some of what schools see as mental health issues, she said, are related to students’ living situations, such as homelessness or a lack of parental support.
Hudson said some students struggle with a lack of connection to others, and the fallout of technology and social media. “Kids graduating now were in pre-K when the iPhone came out,” she said.
Although Saturday’s event will provide some services offered in the past at Project Homeless Connect, “its focus is on all youth and families, including those struggling with low income,” said Allison Matsumoto, a United Way of Snohomish County spokeswoman.
The local United Way recently gave notice that Project Homeless Connect, an annual event for the past decade, won’t happen this year. “As of March 1, adequate funding for the event had not been secured, the venue where PHC was previously held was not available, and no alternate location had been identified,” the agency said on its website. There is no connection between the youth fair and Project Homeless Connect, Matsumoto said.
United Way is one of many partners for the Youth & Family Wellness Fair. Among others are Providence Health & Services Northwest Washington, Molina Healthcare, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and Compass Health.
“It’s a great event for families,” Matsumoto said. “We’re excited to be a partner.”
Julie Muhlstein; 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein @heraldnet.com.
Youth & Family fair Saturday
The Youth & Family Wellness Fair, a free event for Snohomish County parents, children and teens, is scheduled for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday (doors open 9:45 a.m.) at Evergreen Middle School, 7621 Beverly Lane, Everett. It includes free lunches, 12 workshops, two entertainers, dental vans, haircuts, family photos, cooking classes, face painting, art, a bike rodeo, community resources and more. Everett Transit bus rides will be free Saturday.
10:30-11:30 a.m. Tim Noah, singer and children’s entertainer
11-11:45 a.m.: Workshops (How to Handle Temper Tantrums; Immigration and Family Rights; Managing Screen Time and Maximizing Children’s Learning; When a Kid or Teen Loses a Loved One)
11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Free lunch
12-12:45 p.m. Workshops (Suicide Signs and Prevention; Growing Up LGBTQ-plus; What is Bullying and How to Handle It; Kids Using, How to Talk About It)
1-2 p.m.: Son of the Reptile Man
1-2 p.m. Yoga
1-1:45 p.m. Workshops (Cutting, Self-Harm and Depression; Anxiety and How to Cope; Understanding Trauma and Finding Resiliency, Teens and Suicide: A Conversation)
2-3 p.m.: Basketball