Family Time: Resource fair helps families find the help they need

Make connections at Child Care Resource & Referral's Resource Fair. The event is open to Rochester area families and is designed to provide need-to-know information about various community organizations and the family-friendly resources they provide.

"We frequently come across families who know there are resources out there, but they may not know who offers the resources or how to access the resources," said Alexis Peck, Family Advocate for School Readiness and Resource Fair committee chair of the inaugural event. "Our hope is that the resource fair makes families more knowledgeable about what is available and how to access it."

At the resource fair, families can access information on employment, education, housing, dental and medical services, preschool programs, legal assistance, food support programs, and more. Many of these programs offer free or reduced-cost options. Parents will also find information on a variety of support groups, including those for single parents, grandparents who are parenting again, parents of children with autism, and parents who are disabled.

"We have 40-plus organizations participating," Peck said. "The information is not necessarily just for families of young children. We've really tried to include various agencies that would be helpful to all families."

The resource fair will be held in the Northrop Education Center's gym and will follow an open house format. Families can make their way around the gym and stop at booths to pick up information and speak to representatives from organizations including Good Samaritan Dental Clinic, PAIIR, Workforce Center, Family Service Rochester, Habitat for Humanity, Legal Assistance of Olmsted County, Community Food Response, and Head Start.


"When families get there they can sign in. There's no need to register beforehand and there's no cost to families," Peck said. "We'd like to see 200 families attend this year. And yes, kids are welcome to attend."

What: Child Care Resource & Referral's Family Resource Fair

Where: Northrop Education Center, 201 Eighth St. N.W.

When: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 30

Phone: 507-287-2020, ext. 1509

On the web:

More CCR&R information

• Child Care Resource & Referral serves southeastern Minnesota families. Last year, the nonprofit assisted 1,483 families through its Child Care Assistance Program, 813 children through its Head Start, Early Head Start and School Readiness programs, 100 parents through its Circle of Parents and Grandparents Parenting Again support groups, 540 children through its Crisis Nursery program, and 6,120 children each month through its Child and Adult Care Food Program.


• Crisis Nursery provides short-term childcare to parents in crisis or high-stress situations, such as a medical emergency, chemical dependency, or mental illness. Care is provided 24 hours a day and is offered on weekends and holidays. There are no income eligibility requirements. Call for more information.

• Head Start and School Readiness offer free or reduced-cost preschool opportunities for children ages 3 and 4. Two-, three-, and four-day morning, afternoon and evening options available. Parents must meet income eligibility requirements. Call for more information on both programs and to complete a program application.

• Circle of Parents support group meetings are held Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Since 1978, the weekly support group has helped parents improve their parenting skills while learning new parenting techniques. Sounds like Halloween

Get on your Halloween gear and head over to SEMYO's Just for Kids Concert and Costumes. Held from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Century High School, 2525 Viola Road N.E., kids (and their favorite big person) will enjoy a morning of music (a family-friendly concert presented by the Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestras) and activities (costume parade, instrument petting zoo, music BINGO, spook-tacular treats). Register online through Community Education, , $10 per parent/child pair, $5 for each additional child or pay $5 each at the door.

Is there more?Community Education is hosting more Halloween-themed classes and activities for kids including Holiday Crafts for Meals on Wheels (Oct. 26), Mystery at the Plummer House (Oct. 28), and Pumpkin Patch Party (Oct. 29). Go online for more information.


Meeting notes

The Rochester Center for Autism's Parent Group meets Wednesday, Nov. 6, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at RCA, 3640 9th St. N.W. The meeting topic is bullying and autism and features guest speakers Vangie Castro from the Diversity Council, and Bridget Biggs, Ph.D, licensed psychologist from the Mayo Clinic. Both Ms. Castro and Dr. Biggs contributed to the Minnesota Task Force on the Prevention of School Bullying. The support group is free. Visit to find out more. Email to let RCA know you are coming.


What else?RCA's Sibling Support Group also meets on Nov. 6. Geared toward kids ages 7 and older who have a sibling with autism, the group provides age-appropriate opportunities for kids to interact with other kids who understand what it's like to have a sibling with autism. Call 424-3234, or contact for more information including upcoming meeting dates and times.


Moo.. baa… cluck

Sit down for some good eats and some great company at the Minnesota Children's Museum of Rochester's Breakfast with the Animals. Family members of all ages will enjoy breakfast (baked goods, fruit, coffee, juice) and an animal presentation by staff members of Oxbow Park's Zollman Zoo. Held Wednesday, Oct. 30, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the museum, 1643 N. Broadway, Suite A. Cost is $7 for museum members and $12 for nonmembers. Go online, , to purchase tickets.

Need to know more?The Minnesota Children's Museum of Rochester is open Thursday through Sunday. Admission is $5.50 for family members 1 and older. The museum hosts free weekly art programs including Zoom Painting (Oct. 24 through 27), Water Color Painting (Oct. 31 through Nov. 3), and Shape Collages (Nov. 7 through 10). Call 218-3010 for more information.


Party time

Get into the spirit at The Y's SPOOKTACTULAR, 709 First Ave. S.W. Held from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, the family-oriented, not-so-scary event includes trunk or treating, the Haunted Basement, a candy maze, and a costume party with games, music and dancing. Cost is $5 per family for Y members or $10 for nonmembers. Call 287-2260 to save your family's spot.


What else?Just for families, The Y offers Parent's Day Out and Parent's Date Night. Both provide a fun, safe place for the kids to stay while parents enjoy the day or evening away. Upcoming dates include: Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 14, 21 (Parent's Day Out) and Nov. 8, Dec. 13 (Parent's Date Night). Cost starts at $15. Discounts available for Y members. Go online, , to find out more.

Lindy Lange is editor of .Up next: It might still be a year away, but now is the time to attend the Kick Off to Kindergarten.

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