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Women 4 Wellness returns for another year

Nearly a dozen volunteers check in and welcome participants at the door for the 6th Annual Women’s Wellness Health Fair. “We rely heavily on volunteers and we are so very thankful for the help provided by Kicking Horse Job Corp students this year.  I'd also like to acknowledge supervisors and employers who allowed their employees to attend the fair,” stated Wellness Director Niki Graham. (Lailani Upham photo) Nearly a dozen volunteers check in and welcome participants at the door for the 6th Annual Women’s Wellness Health Fair. “We rely heavily on volunteers and we are so very thankful for the help provided by Kicking Horse Job Corp students this year. I'd also like to acknowledge supervisors and employers who allowed their employees to attend the fair,” stated Wellness Director Niki Graham. (Lailani Upham photo)

By Lailani Upham

PABLO — Tons of ladies, young and old, and even a few men, roamed through the booths and stations to dabble into health and wellness information, products, deals, screenings and medical tests at the sixth annual Women 4 Wellness Health Fair last Thursday.

Over 800 participants pre-registered this year which is a record high from previous years. A preliminary review indicated that 1,400 folks streamed through the fair. Again, another record high.

Every year folks from all over the valley look forward to the one-day event at the Salish Kootenai College Joe McDonald Health Center that ushers ladies through station after station that focuses on health education and disease prevention, and free screenings offered with the help of sponsors around the region.

Ladies get a chance at the big wheel for prizes when they answer a women’s health question correctly at the CSKT Tribal Health station; both young ladies won a prize. (Lailani Upham photo) Ladies get a chance at the big wheel for prizes when they answer a women’s health question correctly at the CSKT Tribal Health station; both young ladies won a prize. (Lailani Upham photo)

It is always the hope of the SKC Center for Prevention and Wellness to promote health and awareness and increase healthy behaviors among women and men across the valley and reservation.

Participants receive a free “trick-or-treat” insulated bag for those who wander from station to station receiving information and fun freebees.

Last year the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant that funded the event for the past five years was to expire this year. The grant was secured for another year, according to Niki Graham Director for Center for Prevention and Wellness.

A CSKT tribal member, Michelle McClain, and owner of Missoula Massage Clinic offers free massages with a smile to participants for donation of any amount for proceeds to benefit Safe Harbor, a domestic violence shelter organization in Ronan. (Lailani Upham photo) A CSKT tribal member, Michelle McClain, and owner of Missoula Massage Clinic offers free massages with a smile to participants for donation of any amount for proceeds to benefit Safe Harbor, a domestic violence shelter organization in Ronan. (Lailani Upham photo)

Last year the SKC Prevention Task Force officials were concerned about the year event ending. However, through fundraising, hope, and determination of the sponsors, the event has leaked over the five year funding mark. “Without grant funds, sponsors, community support and anonymous donors, this event would be difficult to pull off,” Graham stated.

Graham included that, “Women 4 Wellness continues to grow and develop while the need continually increases. The Center for Prevention and Wellness would like to remind everyone to take care of yourself.”

A red silhouette says he roams the grounds as a reminder of HIV awareness. (Lailani Upham photo) A red silhouette says he roams the grounds as a reminder of HIV awareness. (Lailani Upham photo)

Planning for 2015 is already underway, assured Graham.

The SKC Center for Prevention and Wellness has been in existence since 2005. The program is growing and provides reliable and confidential resources for the community. They provide multiple HIV/STD services and testing at a free or low-cost.

“Our health matters and while this event cannot address all the needs of our communities, it can make a difference,” said Graham.

For more information or to get tested call (406) 275-TEST, or stop by the John Peter Paul building, room number 110, on the north side of SKC campus.

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