ELYRIA — Parents want what is best for their children.
Sometimes, that’s obvious — food, clothing, doctor’s appointments. Other times, it’s more difficult.
Maybe Chloe is having a hard time making friends. Perhaps, Drew has just been diagnosed with ADHD.
WHAT: Lorain County Resource Fair
WHEN: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
WHERE: John A. Spitzer Conference Center, 1005 N. Abbe Road, Elyria
COST: Free admission and free parking
TO REGISTER: connectingforkids.org/lorain-resource-fair
A free shuttle bus, compliments of “Ready Set Go…to Kindergarten,” will offer stops at: Wilkes Villa, Elyria; Colonial Oaks, Elyria; Westview Terrace, Lorain; Leavitt Homes, Lorain.
Face it, parents worry. But where can you go for help?
The Lorain County Resource Fair on Tuesday is a good start.
The event will feature 70 exhibitors and providers from across Northeast Ohio.
“I know it’s intimidating to come to a large resource fair, especially if you’re one of those families who don’t have a medical diagnosis, but are just concerned about your child,” said Sarah Rintamaki, executive director of Connecting for Kids. “I’m a parent. I know how worried I was about my own child. It’s so overwhelming and lonely trying to figure out who can help them.”
Rintamaki promises a safe and welcoming environment, as well as a helpful “Ask Me” table, which she will help staff.
Connecting for Kids and Leadership Lorain County teamed up this year to expand the former Lorain County Special Needs Resource Day into an event that also offer resources for individuals with anxiety, ADHD, electronic addiction, communication/speech issues, behavior problems and social skills deficits and much more.
The event is for ages birth to 22, and covers everything from summer camps for those on the autism spectrum to adoption and foster services, academic tutors to mental health professionals for issues such as anxiety and bullying.
“It’s not about planning summer camp,” Rintamaki stressed. “This is for parents who have a concern about their child and they don’t know where to turn.”
Whether it’s third grade girl drama or struggling to read, the Lorain County Resource Fair will have helpful information on where to go.
“I receive eight or nine phone calls a day, and the majority are from parents who don’t have a medical diagnosis,” Rintamaki said. “I’m there to help them help their child with their concern right now.”
Connecting for Kids and Leadership Lorain County are offering free shuttle bus service and free on-site Spanish translation services for the event.
A free spaghetti dinner also will be held. And there will be activities for kids, such as face painting, balloon animals and children will receive child ID kits.
While pre-registration is not necessary, those who do pre-register and attend will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 VISA gift card.
Julie Cruz Blair, executive director of Leadership Lorain County, said the Best Class of 2015 is responsible for the original Lorain County Special Needs Resource Day, which was its class project.
“The business leaders that are part of Leadership Lorain County are
passionate about improving the life of those in our county,” Blair said. “We are excited to partner to expand this important event for families.”
While some may say there are no resources in Lorain County, and that they are all in Cuyahoga County, this event will show otherwise, Rintamaki said.
Providers at the event will include:
- Adapted recreation programs and camps
- Alternative schools
- Counselors and mental health providers
- Educational advocates
- Grant/financial aid providers
- Music therapy programs
- Occupational and physical therapists
- Respite providers
- Speech-language pathologists
- Social skills programs
- Transition, job training and housing providers
- Tutors and learning disability programs
Connecting for Kids, which has hosted a Meet-and-Greet fair in Rocky River for the past seven years, will continue to hold its annual event April 11 this year.