Two area organizations are teaming up to host a health and wellness fair this coming weekend in Walden.
The two-day event, co-hosted by the Valley Central Parents For Social Justice (VCPSJ) and the Orange County Pride Parent Ally Coalition (OCPPAC) will take place on Saturday and Sunday, October 28 and 29, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the Anita Vandermark Community Center at Olly Park, 97 Sherman Avenue, Walden.
Organizer Lisa Ruiz said the family-friendly event will offer activities for all ages, and the opportunity to sign up to take free health and wellness classes through the both organizations.
“We will also have kid friendly fun like crafts, Kindermusik playtime, fun physical get you moving activities like hula hooping, costume parade for the kids and free items like goodie bags for the kids, popcorn, apple cider, etc.,” Ruiz said. “We will also have demonstrations from some of our class instructors so folks can preview some of the classes they will be able to sign up for and take for free. Mock’s Morbid Mansion will also have a display set up.”
In addition, area health and wellness businesses are invited to hand out information on the resources they provide.
Ruiz said the two organizations hosting the event were each awarded a Health Disparities Mini Grant intended to improve health outcomes in their communities.
“For VCPSJ we came up with the idea to host a Mind & Body Wellness kick off event, and then host free mind & body wellness classes that range from music therapy, to art therapy, to exercise classes like SocaCize, Yoga, Circuit Training, Belly Dancing, African Dance and Drumming, and others,” Ruiz said. “We will pay the instructors and through a lottery system invite community members to sign up to take these classes for up to six weeks for free.”
The OCPPAC grant will be used for two events: a Second Chance Pride Prom and Wellness Expo on Nov. 17 and a LGBTQ+ and Ally Youth Pride Prom and Wellness Expo on Dec. 10. Both events will take place at City Winery.
“The Adult Second Chance Prom & Wellness Expo was born, when last year, as we were getting donations and support to throw the kids Pride Prom, and so many LGBTQ+ adults commented how they wished there was a Pride Prom when they were in school. Many weren’t even out, because they didn’t feel safe or accepted,” Ruiz said. “We wanted to provide that support and safety for the kids, but it became clear that many adults didn’t feel that way, or safe to come as they were to their own proms. So all this to say this event is 100 percent a give back to the community, and both groups are delighted we are able to offer these events and activities through the grants we received.”
Ruiz, a VCPSJ founder, plans to expand the groups’ reach by creating a nonprofit called People For Social Justice.
“Our goal will be to respond to the many social justice issues people in our greater community of Orange County, and beyond, face. I will still be active in VCPSJ, but the hope is to create mirror organizations like VCPSJ to deal with issues in other districts, by providing a framework on how to address these issues, and have actions led by parents and community members who live in those districts,” Ruiz said. “School issues would be a division under the greater PSJ umbrella, but we won’t be limited to just school issues even though many of the issues we get involved with, in some way affect the students/youth within the district.”