Past the full parking lot and smiling faces at the sign-in table, Constantine Head Start bustled with parents, kids and local agencies during Friday morning’s health and wellness fair.

Gayle McClellan, family, parent and community engagement specialist at Cheaha Regional Head Start, said more than 100 parents had visited the fair by 10:30 Friday morning.

Whitney Forbes, one of the attending moms, said she enjoyed her time at the event while learning about different child- and family-focused agencies in the area. With a plastic cup of fruit in hand, Forbes said she’d already drunk her sample from the Alabama Cooperative Extension’s clean-water station.

“I wasn’t too sure about it at first, but it’s pretty good,” Forbes said. “I’ve learned a lot today. It’s been fun.”

Foster mom Elizabeth Rich said she had a good time at the fair, too, and used the opportunity to run different tests at Regional Medical Center’s station.

“They’re checking blood pressure and glucose and cholesterol. It’s a good thing to have,” she said.

For participating organizations, the health and wellness fair offers an opportunity to connect the community with vital resources. Lakeeshia Sandlin, supervisor of Parents as Teachers, said the event allowed her and teammate Brandon Lindsey to connect with parents and let them know about their program.

“We’re here to let parents know that they are their child’s first and most influential teacher,” Sandlin said. “Our program comes alongside families from birth to age 5 to help those parents help their kids.”

For Gerald Ware and Tevis Garrett of the Department of Human Resources, the fair allowed them to connect with potential foster parents. Ware said recruiting foster and adoptive parents was one of their main goals at Friday’s fair.

Around the room, parents had opportunities to learn about sleep safety for infants, nutritional eating for their families, and drug abuse prevention and education. In the back, music played from a speaker as background to fellowship and conversation. A local boutique, Diva Fashions, boasted jewelry and other accessories for sale.

McClellan said the fair was a huge success, bringing families in and equipping them with information that will better their lives.

“We just want everyone to know what help is out there for them,” she said. “Plus, it’s just fun for everybody.”


Staff Writer Danie Waddell-Cranford: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @DanieeW.