School News Network: Expo connects families to local resources

Esperanza Mercado and her children, Alex, a Godwin Heights High School senior and Yra, a first-grader, make their way around the fair. (Photo courtesy of School News Network.)


By Erin Albanese

School News Network


Esperanza Mercado and her children now know how to get the biggest bang for their food buck at farmers markets this summer. Along with learning that, they also heard about programs offered at a local ministry, and talked to health-care providers and business representatives in their own community.


Getting seeds and tiny planters from representatives of Grand Valley Health Plan are (on right, back to foreground) Jonathan Morales, a West Godwin Elementary fourth-grader, mom Ana Morales, and Ashley Morales, a West Godwin second-grader. (Photo courtesy of School News Network.)

North Godwin Elementary School hosted the third annual Health and Wellness Fair with 18 vendors, including faith-based organizations, financial institutions and others sharing information on services in and surrounding the district.


“It provides lots of different resources for families,” said Principal Mary Lang. The population at North Godwin is 88 percent economically disadvantaged, and 49 percent of students are Hispanic. Barriers to accessing resources often include language and transportation, Lang said.


Esperanza and her children, Alex, a Godwin Heights High School senior; Yra, a first-grader; and Doral, a kindergartner, said they were happy to receive goodies, information and ways to connect. They used a “Wellness Passport,” which was stamped by each vendor to enter into a drawing for prizes.


Kenzie Burt, school coordinator intern for Kent School Services Network, organized the fair. “It definitely provides families with knowledge,” she said.


Check out School News Network for more stories about students, schools, and faculty in West Michigan.