Parkland hosts wellness event for parents

Photo by Kelcey Williams | Wellness Coordinator Sara Maxwell tends the information table at the Pregnancy and Parenting Wellness Fair on March 15.

Photo by Kelcey Williams | Wellness Coordinator Sara Maxwell tends the information table at the Pregnancy and Parenting Wellness Fair on March 15.

Alex Davidson

Staff Writer

The Pregnancy and Parenting Wellness Fair, the first of its kind held at Parkland, was on March 15 and featured groups from around Champaign showing the services they can offer to students who are new or expecting parents.

Organizations present included Christie Clinic; Women, Infants, and Children; Crisis Nursery; Mettler Center; and Living Alternatives.

“Parkland College wants to make sure that our pregnant and our parenting students understand that we’re here to support them,” said Sara Maxwell, wellness coordinator at Parkland College.

Each group that came to the school had an event they used to spread information about their services. These events were mostly small giveaways and drawings for families. In total, six organizations had booths.

Christie Clinic had a booth advertising their obstetrician and gynecologist services. They had a drawing for a $25 Visa gift card, as well as Life Savers and Twizzlers. Those tending the booth answered any questions people had for them. The clinic offers classes for expecting mothers on topics such as childbirth preparation and breastfeeding, as well as information on birth control, alcohol abuse resources, quitting smoking, acquiring food and clothing, social services, and shelters, in addition to their OBGYN services.

The WIC booth had information on what it is and how it can help families. WIC is a program, run by the public health department, that helps low-income families provide baby formula for infants and food such as dairy products and fruits and vegetables for children aged one to five years old. WIC participants are also eligible to receive summer farmer’s market vouchers.

Crisis Nursery’s booth offered gift bags of items for families that may not be able to afford them. Crisis Nursery offers services to families in need such as emergency child care on a 24-hour basis, as well as resources for mothers who are going through a crisis such as depression, teen parenting or homelessness. These resources include counseling, interaction and support groups, parent education classes, and basic need items such as diapers. The goal of the group is to prevent child abuse and neglect.

The Mettler Center had a massage table set up and was offering free demonstration massages. The Mettler Center is a company that offers services to help parents stay healthy, such as personal trainers, massages, and nutrition guidance to keep a healthy diet.

Living Alternatives is a faith-based organization that works to promote life affirming options for expecting mothers. They had a display of human fetus sizes, starting with twelve weeks and going through thirty-six. They handed out gift bags that contained things that families might need or want, such as diapers and a free gift card to Little Caesars. The organization offers resources for new and expecting mothers such as free pregnancy tests, education on sex, pregnancy, parenting, adoption, counseling, and assistance to families in need.

Sara Maxwell says she was happy with how the event turned out, and that she considers the event a success. More students came to the fair than originally expected, and she is optimistic about the future of the event.