Back to school fair aims to bring community together

The December school resource fair served as a test run for this back to school fair. The response from the community was overwhelmingly positive.

By Kira Erickson

The Blaine school district will be hosting its first back to school fair on Wednesday, August 21 from 4 to 7 p.m. in the high school gym.

The resource fair held last December served as a “test run” for organizers Julie-Anne Butschli and Jodi Greene, a way of gauging the community’s reaction. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and the event had a turnout of over 200 people.

The August 21 fair will have many of the same resources as last time, with more services available for students and families of Blaine and Birch Bay.

“Our community is so big, it goes beyond Blaine and a lot of the resources are from Bellingham,” Butschli said. “We’re just trying to bring it all into one nice place.”

These resources include Animals as Natural Therapy, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services (DVSAS), Blaine’s parent-teacher organization, Hoagland Pharmacy, health services, several local churches and many more. TouchStone Health Clinic will be providing sports physicals for $20.

Free vaccinations and haircuts will also be provided. School district staff members and local hairdressers will be donating their time to cut hair.

PeaceHealth Pediatrics will be providing vaccines for children (DTaP, IPV, Hepatitis B, MMR and Varicella) and the Whatcom County Health Department will be bringing MMR and Twinrix (Hepatitis A and B) for adults who may need those, Greene said. It’s recommended that parents bring insurance cards and immunization records, if possible.

As a nurse for the Blaine school district, Greene came up with the idea of having a back to school fair with community resources from being a member of a school district group, which partners with the Whatcom County Health Department.

“One thing that’s so exciting is for the organizations to be able to talk to each other,” Greene said. “That’s one huge benefit, because many organizations don’t have a direct line of communication, so when they’re all under the same roof it just increases the support.”

Butschli and Greene both want to emphasize that the back to school fair is open to everyone. Regardless of income status, anyone can receive the services provided, although the haircuts will be specifically for kids.

“There’s just a lot of great human beings in this community who want to help all our students and families in Blaine and Birch Bay,” Butschli said. “It is a combined effort. I have a hard time saying it’s the school district who solely sponsors it because there are a lot of ways to give back. It’s a community effort.”

Gordo the Clown will be making an appearance to craft balloon creations for kids. Other kids’ activities will include face-painting with the Blaine High School cheerleaders. Author and woodworker Jack McKee will also be attending with his builder boards, an opportunity for kids to play and build.

There will be free pizza and beverages while supplies last. Participants are encouraged to enter a free raffle to win various prizes.

This is an event that Butschli and Greene want to do as long as they have the support from the community.

“I think it’ll be something people look forward to every year,” Greene said.

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