Healthy Equity Fair at PS47

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June 27, 2024

Counseling In Schools’ staff pride themselves on truly becoming part of the communities where we work. At PS47, our Community School Director Kelly Arriaga and her colleague Maylin Rodriguez, Family Outreach Specialist, contribute in meaningful ways to their school – including serving as active members of the school’s Equity Community.

During discussions last year, members highlighted the challenge students face in staying engaged due to limited access to basic needs, which impacts academic success. As a result, the committee proposed organizing a wellness fair to connect the community with essential resources.

The inaugural event proved highly successful, prompting the team to support its second annual wellness fair this year on Saturday, June 1, 2024. With a student enrollment of 860, nearly half of PS47’s families attended. The first 150 attendees received raffle tickets for a chance to win one of 10 themed baskets, two of which were generously donated by Counseling In Schools and featured themes like STEM Challenges and The Artist in Me. Attendees also received separate tickets to win one of 18 additional prizes donated by the organization.

CIS further contributed by providing 150 string bags filled with goodies and snacks, enhancing the event experience for participants. Our staff also actively participated as vendors, offering crucial information on the importance of mental health and highlighting the free services available to PS47 students, staff, and families, which include:

  • Counseling for students
  • Therapeutic Open Studio Groups during lunch
  • Professional Development & Staff Support
  • Family Support After School Programming
  • Food Pantry distribution, and more.

Once families spoke with our team, they were invited to participate in our community activity, “The Giving Tree.” Here, community members were encouraged to write or draw a positive feeling, word of encouragement, or something that brings them happiness. After completing their creation, they attached it with a clothespin to the tree display. Participants were then encouraged to interact with the display, reading the messages shared by others and taking one with them if they felt inspired to do so.

The purpose of this activity was to foster ongoing discussions about well-being, mindfulness, grounding techniques, practicing gratitude, and spreading positivity within a community that shares more similarities than they may realize.

Successful partnerships and collaborations are at the core of our efforts to enhance community engagement. Community School Director Kelly Arriaga reached out to the Book Fairies, securing 800 book donations for all event participants to build their home libraries. Our data manager Patricia Williams facilitated the distribution of these books and engaged with families throughout the event as well.

To add to the festivities, the event featured a live DJ for entertainment and special appearances by the Harlem Globetrotters and a dance group, providing engaging performances for attendees. Additionally, our fellow Community-Based Organization at PS47, the Police Athletic League, organized interactive games and even set up a PlayStation station, ensuring that all members of the community were entertained and engaged throughout the event.

These efforts underscore our commitment to supporting the holistic well-being of the community through comprehensive educational and emotional support services.

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