Students are invited to attend the Health and Resource fair tomorrow during A and B lunches, as a part of Red Ribbon Reality Week. A variety of outreach and support organizations from around the community will have booths set up in the commons with information available for interested students. Guidance interns Alexa Bouse and Lindsay Oetker organized the event, hoping to guide students in the direction of helpful community resources they may find useful. Bouse said part of the inspiration for the event came from other school counselors in the community.
“Mr. Anderson kind of got us on the ball with this and he told us that a guidance counselor from Hickman, Maria McMahon, has done this before too,” Bouse said. “We teamed up with her and we talked about previous agencies that they’ve had and we also were given a list of some that they’ve had in the past.”
After developing a comprehensive list of resource agencies in the community, Bouse and Oetker began contacting different organizations and inviting them to the event. Bouse said diversity and variety were important aspects the women considered when choosing which organizations should attend.
“We just started contacting some of those agencies,” Bouse said. “Lindsay sent a whole bunch of emails at first and then followed up with phone calls and that’s kind of how we did it. We wanted kind of a good mixture of mental health agencies and physical health agencies and then some other one like protection, like the police, the Navy, places like that.”
Oetker said she hopes this event will offer students the opportunity to learn more about the many people and groups within their community that are eager to help them in any way possible. The organizations who are a part of the fair have all been enthusiastic regarding the event planning, she said.
“We wanted to make sure the students knew about their support and their community connections that can really empower them in whichever avenue they needed it,” Oetker said. “They’re all very excited about coming tomorrow.”
The Rainbow House is one organization that will have a booth set up during tomorrow’s resource fair. The volunteer coordinator for the group, Megan Carnahan, said staff members at Rainbow House are eager to spread the word about the way their organization can benefit students in need.
“We decided to participate tomorrow because we thought we could do more outreach and be able to tell the community about what was new,” Carnahan said. “We will have staff members there, we will have a little basket of bracelets that students can take, we will also have little boxes of candy that students can take, we have a lot of pamphlets about our organization, about other child organizations in the community that kids can take.”
The setup for the Rainbow House booth will be similar to others at the fair, Bouse said. The main purpose, she said, is to provide students with information and remind them of resources that are available in times of need, although some interactive activities will be going on as well.
These agencies are just going to be handing out like little pamphlets of information or just talking with them and letting them know what they do,” Bouse said. “One of them, the chiropractic one I think, said that they’re going to be doing like a spine test, so there’s a lot of different things going on.
Regardless of whether students need assistance from any of these community resources at the moment, attending the fair may still be beneficial, Oetker said. Students should attend the event in order to keep in mind the supportive community of adults who are there to help them when they need it, she said.
“Even if maybe the student doesn’t need that agency in their life right now, they might in the future or they might have a friend that’s interested in that and they can help refer them,” Oetker said. “It’s just kind of about connecting people to the resources they may need now or in the future.”
By Anna Wright