TELA families connect with community at mini health fair

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The entryway of the Betty J. Early Learning Academy was bustling on the afternoon of March 21. Laughter echoed throughout the spacious lobby and the spirits were high as families of the academy participated in TELA’s mini health fair. 

Held on an annual basis, the mini health fair has been a successful event for the academy over the years. The event has helped their students and families connect with local programs and Tribal departments, so they can in turn access a multitude of information, resources, and services. 

In total there were 15 stations at this year’s mini health fair including the Tulalip Family Haven program, the Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic, SNAP-Ed, the Tulalip Lushootseed department, Tulalip Emergency Management, and the Tulalip police and fire departments as well. TELA also had representatives of the school in attendance including their mental health specialists and members of their staff who helped inform the families about the dangers of tobacco use and also to update student’s ID cards and paperwork. 

The two-hour event began at 2:30 p.m., around TELA’s pick-up time, and parents received a passport sheet as they entered the building. After they received a signature at each of the resource tables, they were entered into a raffle which featured grand prize items like swimming pools, a Radio Flyer wagon, and a Graco 3-in-1 car seat. 

The event was especially exciting for the kiddos, and they had a blast visiting with their teachers and a few familiar faces from the community. There were plenty of fun swag items that the students collected from each station such as coloring books, stickers, first aid kits, and a variety of toys. 

Healthy habits were promoted at the fair and the kids were treated to refreshing fruit smoothies from SNAP-ED, tasty pasta from the Lushootseed Department, and toothbrushes from the dental team at the health clinic. And of course, it is always exciting for the youth to engage with the first responder teams of Tulalip. At the Tulalip Bay Fire Department table, the kids chose between black and pink helmets to add to their outfit of the day. And at TPD’s table, they received police badge stickers, which they were quick to place on their t-shirts and proudly wear for the remainder of their day. 

Said TELA Family Engagement Coordinator, Absyde Dacoscos, “The main objective of the mini health fair is getting resources to our families. We want them to know what’s available to them here on the reservation, but also in Snohomish County and Marysville. I love that the kids can recognize people outside of TELA and are making great connections in the community today. That’s what it’s all about, to know they are safe in their community and know who’s within their community.”