The Oak Harbor School District is hosting a fair to inform students, families and residents of all of the available community resources.
The Community Resource Fair is taking place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sept. 20 with an event specifically for students in the Oak Harbor High School courtyard. From 5-7 p.m. that day, there will be a second fair for parents, families and other community members in the Oak Harbor High School library.
Organizations who will have a representative at the fair include Sunrise Services, SeaMar Behavioral Health and Dental Services, North Whidbey Help House, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Oak Harbor Police Department.
This is the first fair of its type, organized by Nadine Cushway, student support specialist, and Stephen Keck, who works in intervention and prevention counseling for the district.
Keck said when looking for vendors, he wanted to cover a lot of different areas that would be important to all students and families. This is the first school year since the pandemic where there have been no COVID regulations and he thought this was a great way to kick off the school year.
“We felt like introducing the community, students and families to the resources that we have available in Oak Harbor would be a really good idea,” he said.
A big part of Keck’s job is referring students to the services that will be represented at the fair.
“Being able to connect them in person, I think, is a lot more engaging than just telling someone, ‘Here’s where you can go, here’s their website and phone number,’” he said.
Keck said he and Cushway work pretty closely with two of the organizations that will be present: Ryan’s House, a nonprofit that serves youth and young adults ages 12-24 facing homelessness, and Citizens Against Domestic and Sexual Abuse, which provides assistance for abuse survivors.
Cushway said there is a serious need for these services right now, especially after the pandemic.
“We just realized people aren’t really aware of how many services are out there,” she said.
Cushway said that she doesn’t think there has been a resource fair with all of the organizations at one time in Oak Harbor before.
“People need to know there are a lot of services that aren’t very obvious that are out there,” she said.
The evening fair is not only an opportunity for parents and families — the entire community is welcome. Currently there are a total of 11 confirmed organizations. Cushway said the school is hoping to put on the fair every year in the future.
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