By Mike Kinney
A community coalition of local government agencies and nonprofit organizations that recently held a “Self-Care Day” for families with children at Nystrom Elementary School in Richmond held a similar event on Wednesday for families at Balboa Head Start and Child Development Center, also located in Richmond.
Over 150 people were served during the afternoon Self-Care Day at the Balboa Head Start and Child Development Center at 1001 S.57th St. The event, which aims to provide a wide variety of mental health services and resources to families and children, included a raffle with gift cards, along with toys and goodie bags, provided by the Contra Costa County Community Services Bureau.
Richmond firefighters passed out shiny red and pink toy fireman helmets to children. And Community Village, a nonprofit providing resources to unhoused community members, provided entertainment with “Sounds of Healing Drummers,” a group of drummers native to Caribbean islands.
Healthy foods were also served up by Contra Costa Contra Costa Community Services Bureau Central Kitchen Chef Edgar Moreno.
“The food we are serving here today gives the parents the opportunity to see what healthy food we serve the children,” Moreno said, adding that food served to children is fresh, made from scratch and will be all organic by the end of the year.
This is the 5th Self-Care Day event held in the Richmond community, according to Antwon Cloird, co-founder of the RichMinds Network that aims to connect local community members with mental health, trauma, homelessness and community response services. Other events were held at St. John’s Apartments, Eastshore Crescent Park and the Pullman Point Apartments.
“Over the past year here in Richmond, there were a series of deadly shootings and homicides,” Cloird said. “We found the mental health teams were to slow getting there to respond to the people and families who had suffered from the killings and violence.”
The RichMinds Network “saw the need to have all these service providers in one place that the community could access these services,” Cloird said.
Linda Fraizer-Stafford, who works with the Contra Costa Community Services Bureau, said the Self-Care Day event “shows support for the parents, the children and the staff.”
“We are here to make the parents aware of resources and make sure they are supplied with essentials such food and diapers,” Fraizer-Stafford said.
Lesley Wagner, executive director of the Faith Campbell Learning Center, said the event provides her organization with the chance to help connect underserved families to college scholarships to continue their education.
“We are proud to continue this collaboration to bring mental health and wellness to parents during this pandemic,” added Michelle Milam, crime prevention manager for the City of Richmond.
The coalition participating in the Self-Care Day at Balboa Children’s Center included: the Contra Costa Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Health, Contra Costa Alcohol & Other Drugs Services, Contra Costa Child Development, WCCUSD Family & Community Engagement Team, Mental Health Evaluation Team; Richmond Police and Fire departments, WCCUSD Adult Education, Contra Costa Behavioral Health Services,Rubicon Programs Inc., The Rich Minds Network, Lincoln Families, La Familia, NAACP-Richmond, Branch, WCCUSD, Lifelong Medical, Being Well, CSB Head Start, West County Youth Services Bureau, Balboa Children’s Center, West County Reads, Contra Costa Child Development Center, Faith Campbell Learning Center and Independent Holiness Church and the Office of County Supervisor John Gioia.