Healthy Families Fair brings back interactive activities

T-R PHOTO BY SUSANNA MEYER —  A Marshalltown Public Library employee talks with a family about the library at the Healthy Family Fair on Saturday morning. Child Abuse Prevention Services partnered with the MPL on the event for the second year in a row, and 22 county and state agencies attended.

The 2022 Healthy Family Fair went off without a hitch on Saturday morning, with 22 county and state agencies attending and numerous families coming out to enjoy the educational event.

Each of the agencies set up a booth outside of the Marshalltown Public Library, and families started rolling in right as the event started at 10:30 a.m. to visit and ask questions.

This is the second year that Child Abuse Prevention Services and the MPL have partnered to make this event possible, and CAPS Program Supervisor Esmeralda Monroy and co-organizer of the fair said she was excited to connect families with the resources available to them at the Saturday event.

“We have a couple agencies that weren’t here last year, I think because of COVID, so it’s exciting to be able to offer it in person this year, to have kids being able to interact and do hands-on types of things,” Monroy said.

Kids explored a police vehicle, a fire truck and a city bus and there was an area on the west lawn dedicated specifically for kids to blow bubbles. As families walked through the MPL parking lot, they had the opportunity to speak with the organizations and discover the services offered while their kids were entertained by a number of different activities.

William and Blackjack the Dragon — an interactive storyteller — made his rounds around the parking lot as well, speaking with families and spinning his batons.

In addition to the hands-on interaction between kids and organizations, Monroy was also glad to see representatives from different agencies conversing as well.

“I see a lot of agencies going around and talking to others, so that’s always good, just so we’re aware as social service agencies what other people offer and where we can refer families. So, I’ve seen a lot of that this morning, so that alone is awesome,” Monroy said.

YSS, the Marshalltown Police Department, The Marshalltown Fire Department and Marshalltown Municipal Transport were just a few of the Marshall County organizations available to speak with families, and state agencies such as Disability Rights Iowa and Iowa Legal Aid were there too.

Co-organizer and MPL Youth Services Manager Joa LaVille was just as happy to see the return of interactive activities for kids as Monroy was, and she was glad to see all the families taking the time to come to the event.

“It’s a lot of the same agencies as last year but it’s a lot more hands-on things. I think that’s a good feeling because, you know, people like to get freebies, but having experiences is a really fun thing for kids, so I really like to see that,” LaVille said.

While the Healthy Family Fair was held outside the library last year as well, hands-on activities were kept to a minimum due to COVID concerns.

“This whole summer in general is just starting to feel, you know, back to some normal experiences and stuff,” LaVille said. “It’s really fun to see the kids get to have that kind of fun.”


Contact Susanna Meyer at 641-753-6611 or smeyer@timesrepublican.com.


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