Community takes part in FASD Awareness Day
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Residents enjoyed a day of fun and learning during Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day. Outside of the Sioux Lookout railway station, community members were able to enjoy face painting, rock painting, a bouncy castle, hot dogs, watermelon and cake.
Yvette Jones, who is the Healthy Generations Facilitator with Community Living Dryden-Sioux Lookout, spearheaded the event with help from the community.
“I had the concept and then I found many community people jumped on board,” said Jones.
FASD Ontario describes the disorder, “…it’s an umbrella diagnostic term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual who was prenatally exposed to alcohol. These effects may include physical, cognitive, memory, behavioural and learning difficulties with lifelong implications.”
According to fasday.com, the first FASD Day was celebrated on 9/9/99. This day was chosen so that on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year, the world will remember that during the nine months of pregnancy a woman should abstain from alcohol.
Red shoes have been adopted as a sign of support for FASD awareness. Jones is making sure Sioux Lookout residents understand the importance of their red shoes throughout the month of September with the Red Shoes Rock initiative, which goes alongside her year-round FASD support efforts.
“I’m going around every day giving out gift certificates from a number of different establishments in town that have donated. If I spot someone wearing red shoes I’ll ask them why. It’s a good opportunity for me to have conversations about FASD,” Jones explained.
“I do lunch-and-learns every Tuesday. Every second Tuesday we go through parenting techniques and how they can deal with some of the challenges. On the alternate Tuesdays, I give everyone the latest updates on what’s going on in the FASD world,” she continued.
There’s also a monthly Circle of Caring, which takes place on the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. The Circles of Caring are hosted at 41 King Street, and they provide information and resources for those who are affected by FASD in any way.
Jones confirmed that the FASD Day event will be recurring yearly, but this year’s events for FASD Awareness month aren’t done yet.
“On the 20 of September we’re doing a red donut giveaway over at the Friendship Gardens, so the idea is to bring people together, get them talking about FASD, and expose them to more information,” she concluded.