Fir Ridge fair helps connect families with services

See why more organizations – and more families – are taking advantage of this unique information exchange …

Hundreds of families come to learn about community resources at this year’s event held at the David Douglas Schools’ Fir Ridge Campus.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The 5th Annual East County Resource Fair – held at David Douglas School’s Fir Ridge Campus, the district’s alternative high school – has grown considerably since we first attend the event. When we walked in this year, we saw more than 70 government agencies, non-profit organizations, and small businesse, represented at tables set up throughout the commons area.

“It started as a way to bring resources to our students,” explained Elizabeth Sommo, School-to-Work and Volunteer Coordinator at the school. “Students, and more importantly, their families, learn what’s available in terms of social services, employment services, non-profit organizations, and businesses.”

Elizabeth Sommo, the event organizer, welcomes guests to the Resource Fair.

This year, the fair was designated as a district-wide event, Sommo said. “We’re inviting all families from outer East Portland and East County school districts to participate. The fair is also a great way to build more community spirit, and have a fun event for people to attend.

“It’s a really great way for community entities to learn what’s going on in the school system, and for the school’s staff, students, and families to learn what’s available in the community.”

Arlene Kimura tells people why neighborhoods – and the EPNO neighborhood coalition – help make our city a better place in which to live.

One of the exhibitors at the fair was Hazelwood Neighborhood Association chair Arlene Kimura, who took charge of the East Portland Neighborhood Organization table.

“I’m here because our city’s neighborhoods are an important resource of which many people are not aware,” Kimura explained. “Some of these kids will eventually become our neighbors; they need to know why the neighborhoods are important, and how we help build stronger communities. They are our future citizens.”

Susan Palmer, of Multnomah County Health Department, School-based Health Clinics, tells parents how to access health care for kids.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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