5th Annual Family Health & Safety Fair Nov. 5
The 5th annual Family Health and Safety Fair, sponsored by Heart & Soul and the Wellness Center of Cape Coral, will be held next month to put emphasis on military support, along with providing information to the community about various non-profit organizations in the area.
Heart & Soul Massage Therapy Day Spa Office Manger Debbie Fasenmyer said the organizers are still putting a lot of emphasis on military support and the troops, especially since the event is being held a week before Veterans Day. She said the fair will also get information out to the community about non-profit organizations, along with putting them in contact with different groups who can meet their needs.
The fair will be held Nov. 5, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., at the Wellness Center of Cape Coral, 609 S.E. 13th Court, behind the Cape Coral Hospital.
Fasenmyer said a percentage of food sales during the fair will be donated to three former Mariner High School graduates who were injured in the line of duty while serving this country.
A collection of items is also being sought for deployed troops and homeless veterans during the event. Those items include wet wipes, hand sanitizer, lip balm, small tarps and blankets, movie DVDs, paper towels, bug spray, beef jerky, toilet paper, dark or camo baseball caps, camo socks, sewing kits, pop-top snack food, blank Christmas cards, foot lotion and powder and rain ponchos.
In addition, the fair will include free fingerprinting for the children by the Lee County Sheriff’s Department and an appearance from McGruff the Crime Prevention Dog from 10-11:30 a.m.
Fasenmyer said they will also provide an opportunity for individuals to register to vote during the fair, along with the chance to donate blood to the Lee Memorial Blood Mobile. Individuals can also find out information about becoming an organ donor, along with registering that day.
Some of the organizations attending the fair include the Lee Memorial Health System Injury Prevention and Trauma Unit, National Coalition for Patriots, Abuse Counseling and Treatment Center, Lee County Health Department and Lee County Coalition for A Drug Free Southwest Florida, along with information about suicide prevention.
Sgt. Allan Kolak with the Cape Coral Police Department will also be at the fair to speak about the dangers of drugs. He said he will speak about the different types of drugs, medications that are not prescribed, along with showing parents some paraphernalia.
With drug use increasing across the United States, Kolak said it is important to educate parents what to look for when determining if their child is using.
Kolak said showing parents paraphernalia will help them know what to look for when figuring out if their child is using good novelty items when trying to use.
Other topics of discussion will include health risks and money issues that are incorporated with the use of drugs.
“It is a toxin to the body,” Kolak said about drugs, adding that it destroys lives of everyone surrounding the user.
Heavy drug users, he said, also hurt the health system because they do not have insurance and the taxpayer ends up picking up their tab.
According to the Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey, middle school students who have used marijuana within a lifetime was 8.5 percent in 2008 and 10.5 percent in 2009. High school students who used marijuana in their lifetime was 30.8 percent in 2008 and 31.8 percent in 2009.
“We have a third of our kids saying it is OK to use marijuana,” said Lee County Coalition for a Drug-Free Southwest Florida Executive Editor Deborah Comella, who will also be at the fair.
In 2009, 4.8 percent of high school students reported that they have used Ecstasy in their lifetime.
The use of pain relievers, another drug used by middle and high school students, decreased from 2008 to 2009. In 2008, 4.9 percent of middle school students used pain relievers and 4.7 in 2009. The percentage of high school students who used pain relievers in 2008 was 10.4 and 9.9 percent in 2009.
“It is going down, but that is a 10th of our kids,” Comella said. “That’s troubling.”
Prescription amphetamines was also included in the 2010 survey for middle and high school students. Middle school students who used prescription amphetamines during their lifetime was 1.6 percent in 2008 and 1.7 percent in 2009. High school students who used prescription amphetamines in 2008 was 5.3 percent and 5.2 percent in 2009.
The survey also touched upon youth using any illicit drug during their lifetime. In 2008, 21.2 percent of middle school students used illicit drugs and 22.3 percent in 2009. High school students who said they used illicit drugs in their lifetime was 37.5 percent in 2008 and 38.2 percent in 2009.
Comella said it is important to have a summary of what kids are taking now because it gives them tools on how to work on prevention with them.
“We need to know what they are taking, so we can have an intelligent conversation with them,” she said. “It is all about education.”
Comella will provide prevention information to families during the fair.
For more information visit www.drugfreeswfl.org.
Some local police and fire department vehicles will also be on display at the fair.
Those who attend the event will have the opportunity to sign up for a free one-week workout pass to the Wellness Center. Individuals can also enter to win a relaxation gift basket, a free one-month membership to the Wellness Center, along with other prizes.
Free chair massages will also be given.
A table with Christmas cards will be set up to provide individuals with the chance to sign cards, which will be sent to deployed troops for the holidays during the fair.
Individuals are asked to bring a canned food item with them for the annual canned food drive at the Wellness Center of Cape Coral.