#1StudentNWI: Virtual fair held to provide community with resources and information

#1StudentNWI: Virtual fair held to provide community with resources and information

In light of the current national pandemic, many citizens are in dire need of resources and support. Recently, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Eta Kappa Omega Chapter, East Chicago (AKA) held a virtual resource fair to raise awareness and share information. The fair was held in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and the AKA’s day of service.

The fair was held via Zoom video conference and provided tips for mental health awareness and ways to manage personal finances. Keynote speakers addressed the following topics: coping strategies for positive mental health and community resources. A representative from the St. Joseph Carmelite Home, located in East Chicago, also spoke and gave a link for participants to make essential donations.

The St. Joseph Carmelite has existed in East Chicago, IN, for over 100 years. The Carmelite Sisters aim to help, support, and tend to children in crisis. Three main areas of care administered are emergency shelter care, teen mother and baby care, and open residential care.

Emergency shelter care offers immediate shelter for children in need for up to 20 days. Pregnant teenage mothers and their babies can receive parenting skills, therapy, and are encouraged to complete their education. Children requiring extended services can be placed in their open residential care program.

Those who would like to make donations to the children housed at St. Joseph Carmelite Home can do so through the following link: http://carmelitehome.org/donate.php#donate

The most requested items are:

  • Monetary
  • Gift cards to local restaurants, stores, and establishments for youth outings
  • Toiletries
  • Bedding

All proceeds donated will be used to assist St. Joseph Carmelite Home with their initiatives and programs.

The President and Chief Executive Officer of Edgewater Health, Dr. Danita Johnson Hughes spoke on stress and its effect on one’s mental health. Hughes thoroughly defined stress and the dangers it can cause. Her presentation offers tips and strategies on how to identify, manage, and combat stress.

In small and infrequent instances, stress can help one achieve short-term goals. This is an example of good stress. However, good stress can become chronic when the compounding stressors begin to place a toll on a person’s life. Chronic stress can lead to illness and mental disorders.

The first step in managing stress is to become aware of its source. If one can recognize stress, then one can control it. Hughes recommended the ABC strategy to help manage and control stress.

The steps of the ABC strategy are A-awareness, B-balance, and C-control. Balance can be achieved by being assertive and saying no when exposed to your stressors. Stressors can be controlled by changing your lifestyle, thoughts, and behaviors.

Hughes expressed the importance of self-care. She shared why it is important to take your wellness seriously and to create time for a self-care routine. To do this, one should first conduct a self-assessment to determine their self-care needs. After this, some may find that they need to start the process of purging toxic people and things from their lives or spend more time outdoors.

To make stress management easily attainable, Hughes also shared some great mobile apps and websites for guidance when managing stress. Calm, Headspace, Strides, My Fitness Pal, and Grateful are apps that can be downloaded for phones and other media devices. There is also Aunt Bertha’s free web search on findhelp.org that helps users browse social services by states.

Some of the most vulnerable members of the community are the elderly population. Burgess Peoples, President and Chief Strategist of Faith Leaders and Community Partnerships, Inc., expressed the needs of the elderly. She conveyed the goal of her organization and the type of service they provide.

The information provided by Peoples is extremely beneficial to those who are caregivers. She expressed that obstacles, such as lack of internet, can cause rifts in communication, so people should be made aware of the resources available to prevent such things. For further information on that subject, Peoples can be reached by email at Faithleadersinc@gmail.com.

The event not only featured guest speakers but virtual games as well. Attendees were able to increase their knowledge of Black History by playing virtual BINGO. Several rounds were played to give attendees a chance to win prizes.

The scope of Covid-19 has caused many individuals and families to become financially, mentally, and physically distressed. AKA's Eta Kappa Omega chapter has recognized this and thus created solutions to address the needs of their community. Overall, the event furnished participants with a toolkit full of resources and information that can help them fulfill their most pressing needs. Using the material shared by the event presenters, people can now rest knowing that help is available.