Kids and their parents lined up along 5th Avenue in Port Alberni in front of NTC’s new health services building on Wednesday August 30th for the Back to School Support event.
This was the first time Child and Youth Services had held this event, which was also jointly organized by Lynnette Lucas, the NTC’s Director of Health Services and SebatienTitone, Manager of Child and Youth Services.
“One thing that was important to us in doing this event, Holly, was to provide kids and families quality backpacks and shoes, because those little things go a long way in making kiddos feel good,” said Titone.
Parents filled out the appropriate forms then the whole family was led down the hallway by staff to pick out a pair of brand new shoes and a back pack. The kids were all smiles and one little girl named Alison was so excited she had to show Ha-Shilth-Sa her new pink shoes.
After shoes the families were lead to the adjacent building to fill their backpacks with hygiene products like deodorant, shampoo, menstruation products, as well as toothpaste, dental floss and a new toothbrush. Melanie Braker and Taryn Coates, dental therapists with the First Nations Health Authority, were also on hand with their mouth models to demonstrate proper tooth brushing or answer any questions and about dental care.
Food was also being served to the families, a menu of chili, hotdogs, pasta salad and fruit prepared and served by the NTC’s health department staff to anyone who was hungry.
Seventy-five children got new shoes and back packs, with over 37 families showing up to benefit from the event. One staff member, Krystine Ayer, a program delivery assistant, said “in this economy families need our help now more than ever.”
The event was scheduled to go from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., as it was first come first serve, but with the large turn out it was done just before 1 p.m.
When asked if this is going to be an annual event Titone said, “It is possible but at this time there are no formal plans.”