The International Rescue Committee (IRC) held a community health and wellness fair at Howe Community Park on March 18th. The event was free and open to the public, and it offered a variety of resources, including free diagnostic tests, community garden plot sign-ups, youth games and activities, mental healthcare resources, nutrition and wellbeing information, and prizes and freebies.
A community wellness and health fair is an event that brings together various organizations, health professionals, and community members to promote and encourage healthy living. These events typically provide a wide range of wellness services and resources, including free medical checks, educational sessions, fitness and healthy recipe demonstrations, and information on local health resources and services. Community health and wellness fairs aim to make people aware of the value of preventive care and healthy lifestyle choices, while also allowing community members to interact with healthcare providers and learn about local resources. They are frequently organized by healthcare professionals, non-profit organizations, schools, and municipalities, and they can take place in a variety of settings, such as centers, school systems, and parks.
Why IRC hosts community health and wellness fairs:
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is an international aid organization that works in more than 40 countries to help refugees, asylum seekers, and other displaced people. The IRC's goals and objectives include the following:
- The primary goal of the IRC is to provide potentially life-saving help to those affected by conflict, crisis, and natural catastrophes. This includes providing those in need with emergency rations, shelter, hospital attention, and other necessities.
- Promoting human rights and dignity: The IRC is dedicated to upholding and protecting refugees and other displaced populations' human rights and dignity. This preparation process for refugees' rights provides legal support to those who are compelled to leave their homes.
- Empowering communities: The IRC tends to work to embolden refugees and other displaced people through education, job training, and other self-sufficiency opportunities. This assists refugees in rebuilding their lives and regaining control and independence.
- Building resilience: The International Rescue Committee works to strengthen the resilience of communities affected by conflict and crisis by supporting community-led efforts to tackle the fundamental causes of conflict and promote peace and stability.
- Advocating for policy changes that support the rights and requirements of refugees and other displaced populations: The IRC is committed to advocating for policy changes that support the rights and needs of refugees as well as other displaced populations. This method of preparation for increased funding for international aid and trying to promote policies that encourage refugees' integration and inclusion in their new communities.
Community health and wellness fairs are critical in promoting refugees' health and well-being. These fairs are a valuable resource, providing a variety of services and benefits that can assist in closing the access gap to healthcare services and resources. One of the most important advantages of these fairs is the availability of healthcare services and resources, such as free medical checks and consultations with healthcare professionals. These fairs can promote preventive healthcare and maintain refugees' health by identifying potential health issues early on and connecting them with appropriate care. Furthermore, these fairs provide details about nearby health services and resources, which can be especially helpful for refugees who are new to the community and might not know where to go for healthcare. In addition, community health and wellness fairs provide learning on healthy lifestyle choices and coping techniques, which is critical for refugees who may have experienced trauma or stress as a result of their displacement. These fairs can offer resources on healthy eating, physical activity, and stress management, assisting refugees in developing healthy habits and coping strategies that will benefit their mental and physical health. Another important benefit of society's health and wellness fairs for refugees is mental health support. These fairs provide refugees with information on resources for mental health and support services, as well as opportunities to connect with mental health professionals. This is especially important for refugees, who may lack access to mental health services or may be hesitant to seek assistance due to cultural or linguistic barriers. Finally, human services and wellness fairs allow refugees to connect with other people in their community who are dealing with similar issues. These fairs can help refugees feel more connected to one‘s new community and promote their long-term achievement and integration by promoting community stability and a sense of belonging.
A community garden is a land area that a group of people in a community cultivates, usually on open or shared land. Plants such as vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs can be grown in community gardens. They are frequently established to provide people with access to new, locally-grown produce while also encouraging civic engagement, education, and sustainable development. The International Rescue Committee's New Roots program assists refugees in gaining food security and contributing to their new places of residence. Since 2008, New Roots has assisted new Americans in navigating their food resources, assisting low-income families in entering urban agriculture, developing local food systems as well as community green areas infrastructure, and providing a platform for youth and adults to develop job and life skills. Gardens, urban farms, and markets are being developed in 66 locations across 13 U.S. cities ranging from Sacramento to New York. New Roots currently serves over 8,400 folks through innovative and strengths-based strategies that result in long-term improvements for refugees and their communities.
Volunteers have been building a community garden at Howe Community Park for the last month under the guidance of Ram Khatiwoda and Aminah Hassoun. Families can grow a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and herbs for their tables, socialize with neighbors and connect with the land and their community at these community gardens. The gardens allow refugees to grow nutritious food for their families while also building a community.
During the fair, refugees were able to sign up for community garden plots. Refugees can gain a feeling of part of and ownership over a physical space through community gardens. This is particularly important for refugees who may feel dislocated or disengaged from their homeland and lack a sense of belonging in their new community. Furthermore, gardens can provide refugees with fresh, nutritious produce, which can be beneficial to their health and well-being. Many refugees may have limited or difficult access to fresh produce, particularly if they live in urban areas with few grocery stores or markets.
Fun Activities and booths:
Several booths from the San Juan Unified School District, Health Education Council, Omni Youth Program, Sacramento Public Library, and others were present during the fair!! Every booth was jam-packed with information!! Some booths even offered prizes and freebies.
The Elica Health Center bus was one of the most popular attractions!! Elica Health Center provides medical services, family medicine, women's health, mental health treatment, and dental services. The top management consists of highly trained and experienced medical practitioners, such as physicians, nurse practitioners, and dentists, who are committed to providing patients with comprehensive and compassionate care. Elica Health Center provides community outreach programs to promote education programs and disease prevention in addition to clinical services. Health fairs, community events, and workshops on topics such as nutrition, control of diabetes, and mental health are among the programs offered. During the fair, many families had the opportunity to have health screenings performed inside the Elica Health Center bus!!
There were many booths present that were related to health care, such as the Health Education Council, whose goal was to improve health outcomes in under-served neighborhoods by encouraging those in them to create the solutions they needed the most. The booth had many informational flyers on how to prepare healthy food, the proper proportion of food, and many more.
"One of my favorite booths was the Sacramento public library. This booth had so many tools for students such as how to borrow ebooks, comics, music, and audiobook just through a library card!! The library even provides free tutoring through zoom, which will be such a beneficial tool for any student" - youth attending the fair
There were also numerous activities to keep the kids entertained. Form a small table where children and adults can paint small birds' houses and eggs to decorate for Easter! The table was filled with children's laughter as they painted houses and eggs with their parents. The kids also used chalk to draw on the concrete, play with the toys brought by the Sacramento public library, pop bubbles and play with other kids.
All in all the community health and wellness fairs were a huge success!! The fair was an important resource for refugees, providing a variety of benefits that can improve their health and well-being. These fairs can help refugees build healthy and fulfilling lives by providing the opportunity for medical care and resources, education on healthy lifestyle choices, mental health support, and chances at social connection, ultimately promoting their long-term achievement and incorporation into their new communities.
International Rescue Committee. (n.d.). New Roots Sacramento. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://www.rescue.org/announcement/new-roots-sacramento
International Rescue Committee. (2018). IRC’s New Roots Program: Growing on Good Ground. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://www.rescue.org/report/ircs-new-roots-program-growing-good-ground
Elica Health Center. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved Month Day, Year, from https://www.elicahealth.org/
Health Education Council. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://healthedcouncil.org/
OpenAI. (2020). GPT-3: Language Models are Few-Shot Learners. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://openai.com/blog/language- models-are-few-shot-learners/
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