Flashback Friday: Strong Families Celebration


It's always tough to accept summer is ending. But, the signs are undeniable: the nights are getting cooler, stores are selling boots and sweaters, and kids are heading back to school. Time waits for no one; not even Healthy Homes. 
But, before that last beach day is done, we want to look back on the fun and busy summer we have had, especially July's Strong Families Celebration.
This picnic party and awards ceremony at Garfield Park was the first of its kind for the organization, and it was a huge success. Originally conceived as a simple, small, and intimate event, the event quickly grew into over 200 people. Once we decided to have a celebration-- it became clear pretty quick how much we had to celebrate. So, we invited all the families we served through out direct services programs last year, as well as the members of the grassroots advocacy group, Parents for Healthy Homes, and their families. 
Then, we didn't want to leave out our partners, such as LINC, SECOM, and the Kent County Health Department, so many of those folks were invited too. 
Since we were suddenly having a big group, we needed a big party to match. Challenge accepted. We got a food cart from Tamale's Mary to donate and to serve tamales and beans and rice, got hotdogs and buns donated from Goya, and the grill going. To keep the fun going, families enjoyed a water balloon toss, badminton, a photo booth, yard games, bubbles, face painting, and two piñatas. Staff even dressed up as environmental hazards: a lead dust (bunny), a coackroach, and VOC's (Fabuloso).
But, most importantly, was celebrating the families who worked hard all year to keep their own kids, and kids in the larger community safe from environmental hazards, such as lead and asthma triggers. Several parents were given specific awards for their work and dedication.
Lead poisoning and asthma are not always easy issues for families to talk about, let alone celebrate. Stigmas about the blame of lead poisoning and severe asthma still exist--stigmas that it's a parent's fault. Stigmas that are unfair and not grounded in reality.
Parents don't choose for these environmental hazards to
impact their children, and they can't always be easily controlled. This July, parents celebrated the good work they are doing in their own families, and 
in their community by spreading the word and advocating for environmental justice. 
The event ended with a call to action to invite more families to join the advocacy movement and continue to work towards policy change that will help keep kids from hurting. The movement continues to grow, and we can't wait for next year's event to be even bigger, and more full of celebration for the families we are proud to partner with.