(Posted Oct. 13, 2023)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Norwood Elementary is once again hosting its annual Health & Harvest Fair, 899 Norwood Dr., West Jefferson. The event offers area residents a chance to learn about a wide array of resources available in Madison County, as well as participate in health activities.
This year’s fair is set for 5-7 p.m. Oct. 18. All activities and information tables will be set up inside the school. While the event is geared toward children in grades pre-K-5 and their families, many of the participating agencies provide services for youths and adults of all ages.
“The Health & Harvest Fair is family-oriented, but anyone is welcome to attend who could use the resources,” said Jessica Thompson, Norwood’s social worker.
Among the activities offered at the health fair are yoga lessons and a make-and-take Calm Down Bottle station, both designed to provide calming strategies. Calm down bottles are water bottles filled with glitter, objects, and food coloring. When a child experiences a big emotion, they can shake the bottle then watch until every object falls to the bottom, giving their brain time to get out of fright-or-flight mode and into good decision-making mode.
Families can make a sleep schedule at the health sleep routines station, participate in a physical education obstacle course in the gym, and make a family mission statement that includes goals for the school year. A photo booth invites families to pose for a photo that then will be emailed to them. Additionally, Madison County Public Health will offer flu shots on site; no one will be turned away due to inability to pay.
The cafeteria will be the hub for information. Visitors can learn about services related to physical and mental health, along with activities for children to do outside of school, including 4-H, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts. The Norwood PTO will be on hand, as well.
One of the organizations new to the health fair this year is Nationwide Children’s Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition. Representatives from the center will share tips on nutrition and exercise routines for children and families. Also new to the lineup is Chrysalis Health Ohio which is expanding its behavioral health programs into the Madison County area, offering mental health counseling without a wait list. The Collaborative Learning Center, new to the area, will talk about what they do and their work with parent advocacy in schools.
Visitors also can expect to see representatives from Madison County Prevention and Madison County Children’s Services, Oesterlen (mental health), Madison County Family and Children First, Madison County Wrap-Around, Madison County Early Childhood Help Me Grow and Early Intervention. Madison County Juvenile Court representatives will have information about their diversion program, assistance with truancy troubles, and parent resources.
HELP House Community Outreach will share information about their clothing and food programs, and Good Samaritan Food Pantry and Sufficient Grace will talk about their food resources for families. Chartwell’s, the company that provides food service for Jefferson Local Schools, will share information about the their menus and how to sign up for free and reduced meals. Bridges Community Action will talk about their rent and utility assistance programs.
Lifetime Vision, West Jefferson Smiles, the West Jefferson Police Department, the Jefferson Township Fire Department, and the West Jefferson Youth Athletic Association are among the other organizations that are participating in the health fair.
The Norwood Elementary Health & Harvest Fair got its start in 2017 and has grown since then. Last year, more than 600 children and adults attended.
“We were really happy with how it went last year and the turnout, and we’re hoping for the same this year,” Thompson said. “People who attend will leave with a lot of good information, do fun stuff as a family, and go home with cool takeaways.”