2023 Recap: Community Resource Fair
by Arianna Bumgarner, CSD Social Support Services Program Lead
On behalf of the Coupeville Student Support Programs, we would like to thank the Coupeville Community for a highly successful Community Resource Fair! This year we experimented with having 2 sessions of the fair: The first at the Middle and High School lunches, and the second, our traditional Family Session. The experiment proved to be a great success as we had approximately 180 middle and high school students come through during lunches. Students were able to access resources such as: emergency housing information from Ryan’s House for Youth, feminine hygiene products and undergarments from I Support the Girls and Days for Girls, and local activity opportunities from vendors like the Coupeville School Farm and Maine’s Taekwondo, who provided vouchers to students to try their hand at martial arts.
At the family session we estimate about 80 unduplicated individuals attended, and this does not include the family members that benefited through proxy. The vendor list doubled for the Family Session, allowing us to provide connections to such programs as Central Whidbey ECEAP, Island County Human Services, the Migrant Education Program, and much, much more.
The Resource Fair Team was honored to host a total of 36 vendors between both sessions, ranging in resources from basic needs to physical/mental health, summer activity options, educational/vocational opportunities, and social support programs. This was the first year we’ve had the opportunity to additionally host vehicles at our Fair and families were invited to tour a fire truck, play Island Transit trivia, and learn about employment opportunities through Island County Public Works.
As an incentive to participate, the Resource Fair featured for its second year, both a raffle item booth and a ticket store. Students at lunch sessions were able to participate in the raffle to win such items as: a stand-up paddle board, art set, and a bike and students enthusiastically joined in the fun to receive these items.
At the Family Session the raffle items were replaced with vouchers for bowling and free swim lessons (courtesy of the Coupeville Lions Club) as well as a gardening set, an early learning kit, and more! The ticket store opened for business and was busy for two hours straight rewarding students for their interaction with vendors by exchanging tickets for items that could be taken home and to enjoy all summer, including sports equipment, art supplies, interior design products, board games, and books. New to the store this year were vouchers for the Blue Fox Drive In, John Vanderzicht Pool, The Meerkerk Gardens, and local book/board game stores to encourage our kids to get out and see what Whidbey Island has to offer!
This year’s Resource Fair was a collaboration between the Coupeville Schools Student Support Programs and Island County Public Health, and we would first like to extend a large thank you to the members of this team for the countless hours spent organizing, advertising, setting up, and breaking down. Additionally, to the vendors who attended, all with patience and energy to share their valuable information - the event would not exist without you - thank you!
To the Book Rack Oak Harbor, the Honey Bear, Lavender Wind, MeerKerk Gardens, and the Oak Bowl for the generous donations, as well as to our many, many donors who brought us the necessary funds, store & raffle items, hygiene products, and clothes to make this event a success.
To the National Honors Society students for their efficient assistance with preparation and to our student volunteers that helped the event run smoothly and provide expertise in Spanish translation - you were the best volunteers we could have asked for!
To St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the Coupeville United Methodist Church, and of course to George Thawley who coordinated the collection effort, we thank you.
And last but certainly not least - to the Community Foundation for Coupeville Public Schools who joined us again as essential partners in making this event come to life. With a special thank you to Bill Evans for being our friendly and tireless greeter at the Family Session and to his skilled hands that refurbished the many bikes that went home with our students at the end of the day, and to James Steller who not only masterminded the donation collections, but manned the ticket store with a fun-loving attitude - the extent of our gratitude cannot be overstated.
And finally, to our students, families, and community members that attended the Resource Fair - we appreciate you!
The fun is not over - thanks to the aforementioned donors and donor collectors - we have ample funds to provide opportunities to students this summer in the form of lessons and camps, as well as on and off campus activities and excursions; you have truly blown us away with your generosity and the Coupeville students will benefit from their experiences for years to come.
With sincere appreciation,
Arianna Bumgarner & Ana Maria Valencia
Coupeville School District Student Support Programs