Maricopa County Public Health, ASU to raise awareness about WIC programs

Spring Spectacular community fair to take place March 30 at ASU Chandler Innovation Center

A partnership between Maricopa County Public Health and Arizona State University will bring awareness about WIC (women, infants and children) programs to the East Valley with a family-friendly, free event at the ASU Chandler Innovation Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 30.

The Spring Spectacular community fair will feature giveaways and activities for all ages, including face painting, a photo booth, a fire truck for kids to explore and an ASU-staffed arts-and-crafts area where youngsters can make tissue paper flowers. Families can take advantage of flu vaccines, free haircuts by ClipDart and health screenings by the University of Arizona’s mobile unit. 

Students from the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts will be providing music therapy sessions, and the ASU College of Health Solutions will run a speech and hearing clinic. 

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Nurse-Family Partnership, South Phoenix Healthy Start and the Maricopa County Library District will also have a presence. 

In the spirit of the holiday weekend, children may bring an empty Easter basket around to vendors, who will fill them with toys and other goodies. They can also dress up as the Easter bunny if they wish.

“With these community events, we’re trying to show what we provide to our WIC participants as well as our surrounding communities,” said Anthony Kern, WIC outreach coordinator/nutritionist for Maricopa County Public Health. 

The main goal is to help families get connected to resources while providing nutrition education, physical activities and promoting family time, all of which come together to create daily healthy living, Kern explained. 

While there have been other kinds of partnerships between WIC, Maricopa County Public Health and ASU, this is the first time they’ve joined forces for a community event. 

Kern credited the connection with the ASU Chandler Innovation Center with attracting more participating vendors and generating more services. He described the relationship as a true equal partnership, one that’s uncommon in his experience. 

“Any possible way they could help us, they have done so. We’ve secured a fantastic location and venue, and it’s been nothing but positive,” Kern said. “We’ve never had a partnership like this, and we’re really looking forward to this event.” 

Abigail Murray, senior operations coordinator for ASU, was one of Kern’s main contacts and is responsible for the logistics and key planning details. When Kern explained the concept, Murray knew a collaboration to have the fair held at the ASU Chandler Innovation Center would be ideal.

“Our goal is to work with community organizations and help bring educational opportunities to community members and connect them with resources,” Murray said. “We were excited to do this on a much larger scale and it’s really cool seeing how all of these different groups are coming together to provide that.” 

The fair is also a fun reminder that ASU is open to collaborations and programming with other organizations and has the venue to host similar events year-round. 

“It shows how we can, as a university, support other groups,” Murray said. “ASU has a lot of resources, and this is a great example of being able to pull those together to benefit our communities.” 

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