CAPS, MPL gear up for Healthy Family Fair

T-R FILE PHOTO Roughly 400 residents showed up at the Marshalltown Public Library for the 2021 Healthy Family Fair. This year’s event will be held on June 25 from 10:30 a.m. – noon at the library.

Finding community resources can be an intimidating task for families, which is why Child Abuse Prevention Services and the Marshalltown Public Library are hosting the Healthy Family Fair from 10:30 a.m. to noon on June 25 at the library.

The Healthy Family Fair will feature over 20 community agencies with plenty of activities for the kids in attendance, and each agency will supply information about the services they provide. The fair is a longstanding CAPS event, but this will only be the second year they have partnered with the library on the project.

CAPS Executive Director Linda Havelka said the event is an important tool for connecting families to the services they may need down the line.

“I would say the purpose is for families to have the opportunity to meet our agencies and learn about their resources and our community,” Havelka said. “Marshall County has great resources, and oftentimes families don’t know what’s out there to help them and to support them, so this gives them an opportunity to meet them and ask questions.”

In addition to drawing attention to different organizations, Maria Ramirez, a family support worker with CAPS who helped organize the event with Program Supervisor Esmeralda Monroy, felt it made families feel more confident when seeking help.

“It’s easier for families to have a face to a person’s name instead of just saying a name. If they’ve met them, they know exactly who they’re looking for when they show up to an agency, and it’s easier for them to follow through with that,” Ramirez said.

The fair will be set up in the MPL parking lot weather permitting, but if the weather is uncooperative, the event will be moved inside the library. As people walk through, they will have the opportunity to explore a city bus, talk with representatives from CAPS, the MPL, the police department and many other organizations. Handouts and free giveaway items will also be available at some stations.

The kids can look forward to Absolute Science Bubble Stations, a visit with interactive storyteller William and Blackjack the Dragon, and various craft projects.

MPL Youth Services Manager Joa LaVille, a co-organizer of the event, said the library has always participated in the Healthy Family Fair. As the MPL pivoted away from their yearly large-scale Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), however, they felt the fair was an equally important alternative, so they were happy to partner with CAPS and host it.

“We are taking the energy and the mission that we had put into Día de los Niños, and we’re still celebrating that with the storybook walk. But this is just a way to kind of do something similar, like highlight all these great family serving organizations,” LaVille said. “Hopefully, families realize how much they are valued in our community when everybody can come together for something free for our families.”

LaVille said people may not always equate the library to health, but she believes that literacy and the library play a crucial role in family development when paired with the other organizations.

“I think coming together (with the other organizations) makes that statement too. I mean, at the end of the day, literacy really is a survival skill. It is vital for the health of a family and the health of a person,” she said.

While families might not stick around for the entire duration of the event, LaVille said she is hoping to see a lot of traffic filtering through while it’s happening and she hopes families will take full advantage of the fair.

The library and the parking lot will be closed off during the fair, but the Emerson parking lot and street parking will be available for use. The library restrooms will be open.


Contact Susanna Meyer at 641-753-6611 or



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