AUSTIN, Texas – Over 30 organizations, including the Austin Police Department (APD) and Austin Independent School District (AISD), joined forces to host the Health and Wellness Resources Fair on Saturday. This collaborative event aimed to bring local resources to the community and promote the well-being of parents and students in the area. The fair, held at Travis High School, served as a one-stop shop for APD’s Riverside Togetherness Project, offering a variety of services and information.
Ofelia Zapata, a trustee at AISD, emphasized the importance of the event, stating, “Today is an opportunity for parents and students to come and meet all kinds of organizations that are here that care about their wellbeing. We do not want to hear more tragedies in our schools. We want parents and students to know that they are not alone, that we have a lot of resources to help, and we are all here to help them.”
Among the 33 organizations present at the fair, Austin ISD Assistant Chief Gizette Gaslin highlighted the significance of community policing and the positive relationship between law enforcement and families. She said, “We want students and families to know that the officers are here for safety and to help us feel safe. They are not out to get us, and so we want that relationship with families because there have been some bad experiences.”
The event received praise for its collaborative effort to support the community. APD Assistant Chief Gizette Gaslin stressed the importance of such partnerships, saying, “It’s a great partnership. We continuously do something like this with the community. The community is Austin, Austin is the community, and in order to reach out to the community, I think this is a very helpful fair.”
Dozens of students and parents attended the fair, taking the opportunity to interact with members of the community and gather information about the participating organizations. Of particular interest were the health services and the Austin Parks Foundation, which aims to enhance the city’s parks and encourage families to spend more time outdoors.
In addition to providing valuable resources, the fair also offered free food, vaccines, and job opportunities for attendees. APD Assistant Chief Gizette Gaslin mentioned the department’s recruitment efforts, stating, “Like everybody else, we are hiring. We have our recruiters here for sworn officers, we also have our Communications Division looking for 911 call takers and dispatchers, and we also have our victim service division, and we are always hiring.”
Zapata ensured that attendees were aware of the broad range of free resources available at the fair, expressing her commitment to help individuals find what they need. “There are so many free resources that whatever you are looking for, we hope that you would be able to find it here. And if you don’t, you let me know, and I will find it,” she said.
Due to the success of the event, AISD plans to hold another fair at Mendez Middle School in October, continuing their efforts to connect the community with beneficial services and support.