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On Saturday March 20th, community members came together to create the 10th Annual Cesar Chavez Day Health Fair at Roseland Elementary School.  Embracing Cesar Chavez's "Si se puede" ("Yes we can") legacy, local non-profit leader CalSERVES coordinated a spirited and colorful event engaging hundreds of local community members, service organizations, and AmeriCorp volunteers.   Sponsored by First 5 of Sonoma County, Kaiser Permanente, St. Joseph's Health System, Redwood Credit Union, and Community Action Partnership, this community festival embodied a spirited message of health, fun, and community.

Children flocked to the Sonoma County Free Bookmobile to select books to take home, gathered near the Roseland Children's Health Center booth for healthy snacks, and carted home free plants to start their own family gardens.  Some sat still for a haircut and climbed into a dental chair for a check up. 

Parents visited information booths shaking hands with Sheriff's Department representatives, getting on the spot job counseling and educational guidance from SRJC staff, or support from the Women's Initiative for starting entrepreneurial businesses.  The Community Childcare Council also welcomed parents, offering help paying for childcare or selecting quality preschools.

Health advocates offered giveaways and activities for families.  Kaiser promoted physical activity with an obstacle course, First Five Sonoma County passed out parenting kits (complete with videos, resource guides, children's books and other materials to support their "While We Play, I Learn" campaign), and Safe Kids Sonoma County raffled off a crib while promoting healthy sleep for children.  Children took part in a bike rodeo, zooming around cones while learning about safe biking practices such as wearing helmets.  YMCA staff handed out balls and information about swim lessons, sports teams, and the Sonoma County After School Network.  Santa Rosa Recreation, Parks and Communities offered copies of the Santa Rosa Activity Guide and guides for setting up COPE (Citizens Organized to Prepare for Emergencies).

As crowds milled about exploring community resources, entertainers such as Windsor Bloco put on a raucous show.  The rhythmic beat of the preformers' drums and feet added to the upbeat aura of the fair.  While fair participants represented a range of ethnic backgrounds, ages, and community roles, the message of "yes we can come together to improve our community health" resounded in the bright smiles of all involved.


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