ICAN Wellness Fair 2014: Our Youth, Our Health, Our Community

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ICAN’s Wellness Fair was held on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 with great success.  This is the second annual fair organized at ICAN to promote health and wellness among the ICAN families and the community.

Around 40 families (more than 130 people) participated in this interactive event this year.  Each family received a “Healthy Roads Map” with the instruction to visit all 12 of the organizations that provided information and resources available to Chandler families that promote healthy lives.  Families received a stamp after talking and learning from each of the vendors.  All completed maps participated in the raffles of special prizes including family board games, gift cards and an IPad.

The event also included free dinner for all families prepared by the Chandler Unified School District.  One of the programs offered at ICAN is the Healthy Lifestyles program, were we promote health and wellness by focusing on physical activity and healthy food choices for the prevention of diseases. With the recent partnership with CUSD, ICAN is able to serve free dinners to all youth that participate in ICAN afterschool programs. Families were able to enjoy and learn more about these healthy meals their kids receive at ICAN every day.

One of the highlights of the event was the dance performance by ICAN youth, coordinated by ICAN volunteer and Yoga teacher Shobhana Bhatt.   The yoga class has been offered weekly at ICAN for more than a year now.   ICAN youth performed some “Sun Salutations” which are a great exercise for the whole body – especially in children. It includes stretching, flexing and toning the muscles and is excellent for increased flexibility and blood flow.

Under the slogan “our youth, our health, our community” this event also had the goal of bringing the community together to learn and reflect about underage drinking, one of the most important issues concerning the health of the youth in Chandler.  The average age youth in Chandler have their first drink is 12.7 years old.  Additionally, 4 out of 10 parents in the 85225 zip code say it is okay for kids to drink alcohol.  As part of the event, all adults and youth older than 11 years old participated in a Town Hall Meeting organized by the Chandler Coalition on Youth Substance Abuse.

This Town Hall Meeting had the purpose of bringing awareness and information to families that underage drinking is a community problem, and invited parents to talk to their kids and set clear expectations about alcohol use.

This part of the event included an inspirational presentation of a guest speaker who shared his personal experience with alcohol abuse and the struggles he faced to overcome that problem. There was also a panel table with the participation of guest speakers from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Chandler Police Department and ICAN.  Panel members provided more information about the problem of underage drinking in Chandler and answered questions from the audience.

Thank you to all the volunteers that made the Wellness Fair a great success. Special thanks to DPR Constructions, Freescale and Dignity Health for sponsoring this event.

Alicia Perez
ICAN Family Programs Coordinator