On October 17, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community WIC program held a special Young Child Health Celebration event at the Accelerated Learning Academy gymnasium. The event was aimed at providing caregivers of children age 5 years and younger with the tools necessary to help raise healthy children.
WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is part of the Health and Human Services public health sector, which includes Diabetes Prevention Services, Environmental Health, Injury Prevention, Nursing and Public Health Services. Information on these services and more was presented.
WIC Community Health and Nutrition Supervisor Maggie Fisher said that she hopes the Young Child Health Celebration creates a new tradition. The format was a talking circle–style gathering space surrounded by information booths.
“We want families to get to know each other and trade [tips] with each other about how to raise healthy children in a healthy circle,” said Fisher, who believes that an event like this can provide supplemental information to families who use WIC services and have specific needs. “[W]e focus on nutritional education and providing food to families; but even if we don’t provide [a particular] service, we connect families to those services. For example, I can teach caregivers about when to start solid baby foods, but as far as speech development and other needs, [we don’t provide that specific service but WIC] can connect you with it.”
One of the information booths at the event was sponsored by Child Find, a free developmental screening program that helps to identify whether infants, toddlers and children up to age 5 are meeting the milestones regarding social and emotional development.
Children and caregivers also enjoyed food served by Panera, raffle prizes and balloon animals.
“We want to thank Salt River Schools, the Early Childhood Education Center, and everyone involved in making this event happen,” said Fisher. “The event wouldn’t be possible without Child Find, the River People Health Center and the pediatricians there, Native Youth Community Projects (NYCP) Literacy for All, Southwest Human Development’s Birth to Five Helpline, and everyone else.”