By Kayla Camenzind
The Know and Grow Partnership for Early Learning held a family fair last Saturday, May 17 at the Raymond High School. Families in attendance received educational resources and free materials for children from community organizations.
The Know and Grow coordinator Ryan Bezanson explained that the organization is a five-year-old community and school coalition which strives to promote early learning and healthy child development by supplying materials and resources.
The goals of the coalition are to promote early literacy services, awareness of child developmental milestones, good interactions in families, healthy eating habits and to connect community agencies with local families.
Bezanson explained that the coalition is of extreme importance because Pacific County has one of the highest poverty rates for children under five in the state. There also has not been a local pediatrician for over 30 years, a fact that the coalition is working to change.
The local agencies in attendance included: The Pacific Eye Clinic, which offered information about free eye exams for children 6 months – one year of age; the South Bend and Raymond Police Departments which gave out child safety materials such as car seats, life jackets, gun locks, and helmets; the Teen Advocacy Coalition; Child Care Aware from Lewis County which connects families with proper child care providers; the WSU Master Gardeners, who allowed kids to plant their own radishes; Grays Harbor College, which offered face painting and information about GHC; the Pacific County Health Department, which gave away a gardening basket; the South Bend Timberland Library, offering building blocks for kids to play with; the Raymond Preschool and the Valley View Health Center.
The Know and Grow coalition offers supplies to families all year long with their “Welcome Baby” baskets, which include baby materials and are given to parents of newborns, and the green tote book give-outs. You can find a green tote and take (and keep!) a book at most of the health clinics around town. Contact Laurie May or Bezanson at the Early Learning Center in South Bend to get a baby basket, 875-5327.