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2012 Health and Resource Fair

Family Self Sufficiency Program

Excited families were waiting in the parking lot when the gates opened for the Alameda County Housing Authority’s Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) 2012 Health and Resource Fair. Within minutes, the Housing Authority’s courtyard and meeting rooms were overflowing with attendees. Over 150 adults and children participated in this annual event. The Health and Resource Fair brings together representatives of the county’s social service programs, community health clinics, holistic and alternative medicine providers and employers who provided information and service referrals to participants.

The highlight of the day was the arrival of the City of Hayward Fire Department’s Station One fire truck. Three firefighters demonstrated fire safety tips for the children. One of the firefighters donned his full gear with helmet and oxygen tank to show the children how he would look and sound in a fire. The children learned that he might look scary in all his gear, but he could still hug them gently and carry them to safety. Once the fire safety demonstration was over, the firefighters raised the ladder high above the upturned heads of the children. Many of the children sat in the fire truck’s cab and “drove” the truck. Luis, one of our 8 year old attendees, said that he would like to be a firefighter when he grows up.

The Art Room was the favorite destination for the younger attendees. While their parents visited the information booths, the children spent their time drawing, painting, and making crafts to take home. Each young artist was rewarded with a new backpack filled with school supplies. All of the kids (and some of the adults) took the opportunity to get a tattoo transfer for the day. Two teen volunteers from Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo were the “tattoo artists” who turned hands and faces into butterflies or aliens.

Gloria Brown, Life Coach, was a featured speaker. Gloria’s encouragement and insight enabled participants to envision their futures. With her support, FSS families find new ways to overcome obstacles and reach their goals. FSS participants have committed to a five-year plan of action. Through education, training and employment, these families are striving to leave behind government support and become financially independent.

As the event ended, everyone hurried back out to the parking lot in response to the familiar calliope sound of an ice cream truck. Parents left with bags full of information and children had tattoos, backpacks and an ice cream bar!

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