News: Keiki Aloha Expo features resources, workshops
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - Families emerged from base housing, drivers slowed their cars and children returning home from school waved as Marine Corps Community Services staff and supporters stirred up the neighborhood with music, pinwheels and smiles in support of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, April 12.
Participants kicked off the second annual Keiki Aloha Expo through
a “Pinwheels for Prevention Walk,” accompanied by music from the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific Party Band, and an escort car from the Provost Marshal’s Office. Upon reaching Riseley Field, participants tied colored pinwheels to the fence overlooking G Street and returned to Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course for the main event.
The expo, hosted by New Parent Support Program, featured more
than 40 vendors and on and off-base organizations in the Fairways Ballroom.
More than 100 members of the base community stopped by throughout the afternoon to chat with representatives and gather information.
“It was a great opportunity for Marine and Navy families to meet the providers of military and civilian services and resources face to face,” said Diane Whitcomb, manager of NPSP. “The workshops were informative and fun. There was something for everyone.”
By visiting each of the organizations, which included the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, the Substance Abuse Counseling Center and Easter Seals Hawaii, attendees had the opportunity to win door prizes. As attendees visited each of the booths, representatives at each booth stamped their card. While parents received information on various products and services, their children received stickers, pinwheels and other treats.
“It’s given me a lot more knowledge,” said attendee Heather Shalosky, who visited several of the displays.
Shalosky, who is a first-time mother of a 5-month-old, said the expo gave her good tips such as recommendations for the right type of baby food.
In addition to the displays, workshops provided families with information on topics such as breastfeeding, sign language and child behavior.
During the sign language workshop, families received a quick lesson with Signing Time Academy Hawaii. Katrina Pasion, a certified baby signing time instructor from Signing Time Academy Hawaii, taught a few hand symbols representing various animals while reading “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”
Two of the workshops featured two specialists; Josh Fouts, a board certified behavior analyst of Hawaii Behavior Analysts, who provided strategies to combat child misbehavior, and Emily McCloskey, a certified lactation educator with NPSP, who shared the benefits of breastfeeding. The last workshop was a “Parent-Child Circle Time,” which gave parents the opportunity to play games with their children using musical instruments, scarves and a colorful parachute.
While attendees visited the booths, even representatives behind the displays took advantage of the expo.
Monique Visocky came to the expo to help present information about the NPSP Breastfeeding Support Group, but she also participated in the sign language workshop. Visocky said the expo had a lot of interesting information, but she was particularly interested in learning baby sign language, and until now had not found a good outlet to learn.
Oriana Newkamp, who attended the baby sign language class with her child, particularly appreciated the expo because it was conveniently on base, and she doesn’t always get the opportunity to head off base for resources and services.
“It’s a nice resource for us to come and learn about vendors,” Newkamp said.
For information about NPSP or any of the organizations from the expo, call 257-8803.