Char-Koosta News

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Health Fair educates kids and parents, and maybe inspire too

By Adriana Fehrs

Kari Eneas, Tribal Wildlife Biologist, set up a stand at the Health and Prevention Fair to give fun education information about wild animals to fair goers. (Adriana Fehrs photo) Kari Eneas, Tribal Wildlife Biologist, set up a stand at the Health and Prevention Fair to give fun education information about wild animals to fair goers. (Adriana Fehrs photo)

ELMO — Tribal Health and Human Services (THHS) and the Salish-Kootenai Housing Authority (SKHA) partnered together to host a free health fair on July 17 to promote safety, education and healthy living in a way that appealed for both parents and children.

With the help of thirteen summer youth employees, booths for children and adults alike scatter the lawn at the community center. Pearl Yellowman-Caye, Tribal Behavioral Health, headed the event.

Diana Schwab, Buckle up coordinator, stands with several young health fair goers. Schwab provided child safety seat demonstrations at the fair. (Adriana Fehrs photo) Diana Schwab, Buckle up coordinator, stands with several young health fair goers. Schwab provided child safety seat demonstrations at the fair. (Adriana Fehrs photo)

The Friends Forever Mentoring of Polson set up a booth where they painted faces and promoted literacy. The Native non-profit, youth prevention mentoring program, formerly known as the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, attended the health fair to hand out books for children under the age of five. “We hope that by donating these books parents will take the time to read to their children,” says Julia Williams, Executive Director.

The Positive Teens Parents Health Education Well being (P.H.E.W) promoted sun safety at the health fair. Children made bracelets out of special ultra violet (UV) beads, which change color when exposed to harmful UVA rays.(Adriana Fehrs photo) The Positive Teens Parents Health Education Well being (P.H.E.W) promoted sun safety at the health fair. Children made bracelets out of special ultra violet (UV) beads, which change color when exposed to harmful UVA rays.(Adriana Fehrs photo)

The organization certainly knew how to draw in a crowd – many of the children attending the fair flocked to the booth to have their faces painted by Williams and Crystal Matt, the program specialist.

Williams mentions that the program serves 180 children, all under the age of fourteen, on a weekly basis during the school year, and if a CSKT employee wants to become a mentor, they can obtain a ‘change of duty’ form and use work hours to volunteer in the program.

Julia Williams,Friends Forever Mentoring Executive Director, painted faces at the health and prevention fair on July 17.(Adriana Fehrs photo) Julia Williams,Friends Forever Mentoring Executive Director, painted faces at the health and prevention fair on July 17.(Adriana Fehrs photo)

Next to the Friends Forever Mentoring booth, the THHS Dental Clinic, of Polson, promoted oral health. On their table sat a large set of fake teeth, and a jumbo toothbrush. “We’re showing children how to brush their teeth properly,” says Jesse Gauthier, Dental Assistant. Gauthier and Cynthia Matt, Dental Assistant, also provided Sodium Flouride white Varnish, which is used to aid in rebuild enamel and promotes healthy teeth, for willing children. The two dental assistants demonstrated how to use the varnish by painting their own teeth, “it’s not bad,” says Gautheir. Most children were interested in the brightly colored toothbrushes they were giving away.

Kari Eneas (L), Tribal Wildlife Biologist, educates little Jimmy Askan (C) and his mother Janelle Michel (R) about wild animals a the Health and Prevention Fair at the Elmo Community Hall last Thursday. (Adriana Fehrs photo)  Kari Eneas (L), Tribal Wildlife Biologist, educates little Jimmy Askan (C) and his mother Janelle Michel (R) about wild animals a the Health and Prevention Fair at the Elmo Community Hall last Thursday. (Adriana Fehrs photo)

Tribal Wildlife Biologist Kari Eneas also set up a stand to educate children on the wild animals that reside on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Children were able to feel the different pelts of omnivores, herbivores, and carnivores. Fake scat piles of different animals were also displayed across the table, although a little disgusting, Eneas taught onlookers how to identify an animal by its feces. The biologist also had on hand a taxidermy rough legged hawk and a peregrine falcon, which she used as educational pieces.

Thirteen summer youth employees worked together to set up the Health and Prevention Fair that was held July 17 at the Elmo community Hall. (Adriana Fehrs photo) Thirteen summer youth employees worked together to set up the Health and Prevention Fair that was held July 17 at the Elmo community Hall. (Adriana Fehrs photo)

The Lake County Public Health also set up several stands. At the ‘Parents as Teachers’ stand, children played with sidewalk chalk and enjoyed blowing bubbles. The parents were invited to sign up for the free home visiting program, which educates parents on healthy development for their children under the age of five, and prepares them for preschool. It is closely related the Tribal home visiting program. Diana Schwab, Buckle Up Coordinator, demonstrated to parents the proper way to install child safety car seats.

Physical activity was a large part of the Health and Prevention Fair. Dennis Johnson played fun games with the younger kids at the fair. (Adriana Fehrs Photo) Physical activity was a large part of the Health and Prevention Fair. Dennis Johnson played fun games with the younger kids at the fair. (Adriana Fehrs Photo)

The Positive Teens Parents Health Education Well being (P.H.E.W) promoted sun safety at the health fair. Marilyn Caye, Teen Parent Resource Specialist, made bracelets out of special ultra violet (UV) beads, which change color when exposed to harmful UV rays.

Caye explains that P.H.E.W. is a new program that conducts home visits with teen parents that are pregnant or have children under the age of five. The program aims to educate parents on healthy child development, and promotes maternal and pre-natal health.

Katherine Buckskin donns a buckle up tattoo and a painted face at the health and prevention fair last Thursday. (Adriana Fehrs photo) Katherine Buckskin donns a buckle up tattoo and a painted face at the health and prevention fair last Thursday. (Adriana Fehrs photo)

She encourages descendants and enrolled members of CSKT, or members on any other federally recognized tribes, to enroll. “The program is free and offers incentives.”

The last stand on display didn’t fall short of entertaining. Dennis Johnson, Tribal Behavioral Health Adolescent and Prevention Specialist, set up a stand to educate the younger children on the risks of smoking cigarettes. “I try to make it fun for the younger kids. I don’t want to just stand here and talk at them, I really like getting the kids involved,” says Johnson. At his stand, the former gym coach played ‘minute-to-win-it’, where he asked trivia question about the harmful effects of tobacco and then challenged the kids in several fun physical activities. Winner received healthy snacks to take home.

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