More than 40 vendors participated in Soboba’s fourth annual Health & Wellness Fair at the Sports Complex on April 29. Organized as an outdoor event this year to make sure social distancing and other safety protocols could be put into place, a steady flow of visitors stopped by during the four-hour event.
Ricardo Macias Jr. of Soboba Parks and Recreation coordinated the event and said last year’s fair was held shortly before the pandemic shut things down. He added that the purpose of the event is to let Tribal members and Soboba employees know what is available in the local area and to also ways they can get and stay healthy. Each vendor supplied a raffle item and more than 50 were given out to those that attended, although they didn’t need to be present to win.
“It was just so nice to be able to get out and see people again,” Macias said. “I thought it went well considering some behind-the-scenes hiccups, but our staff is amazing and were able to get things done. I liked that it was outside and felt others did as well.”
One of the vendors included members of Riverside San Bernardino County Indian Health’s Native Challenge program. They said they have been able to present their educational classes virtually, so all programs have continued throughout the pandemic. Health Educator Lila Vicente said the program serves Native youth at any location but also offers courses at school sites such as Noli Indian School at the Soboba Reservation.
“Our classroom programs teach youth how to make healthy decisions and recognize healthy relationships,” she said. “We also teach them about the importance of self-care and how they can improve their own.”
High school clients are given pre- and post-surveys to see how well they are learning the curriculum for “Discovery Dating” and “It’s Your Game” courses. This feedback assists the health educators in making adjustments for future classes.
“We try and take away the stigma of being embarrassed to talk about sexual health,” Health Educator Jennifer Diaz said. “But the kids are usually not shy about asking questions about birth control methods and things like that.”
Native Challenge also offers its Tribal S.T.A.R.S. program, that has high school students mentoring middle school students, so they have someone to talk to that can help them make positive life choices and develop healthy relationships.
Naomi Silvas shared all the benefits of Monat haircare and skincare products. As a representative for the company, she shared that Monat (Modern Nature) is a fairly new company that has pioneered a unique blend of natural ingredients for its wide array of products for men, women and children.
“Our Rejuveniqe oil is great for sunburns, acne or any other skin problem,” Silvas said. She also provided samples of the Total Greens drink mix, a proprietary blend of 37 fruits and vegetables. The ultimate daily superfood boost supports digestion, immune health and healthy skin.
Silvas, of the Soboba Reservation, said all sales are done online and she doesn’t keep an inventory. This ensures all products are shipped fresh.
Personal trainer Desiree Guachino explained how she helps clients achieve a holistic lifestyle which improves physical, mental and spiritual health.
Altura Credit Union Sr. Business Development Officer Karena Zermeno shared information with visitors to help them gain financial wellness. She has been a vendor at the fair every year.
“I like to educate and/or provide assistance about financial health and the steps they can take to be financially successful,” she said. “To be financially healthy means maintaining a bank account and credit score that is in good standing as well as eliminating high debt and interest rates.”
Zermeno said Altura helps customers achieve that goal by providing no cost checking accounts, low rate loans and low interest credit cards, as well as free services to help repair negative credit accounts along with a loan to help rebuild credit.
A few local gyms offered information about the safety protocols they have put in place before reopening after the pandemic. Planet Fitness’ Jack Osuna said during the shutdown, everyone’s account was frozen and as of March 18 have been 100% reinstated.
“We have the cleanest gym in the Inland Empire and our prices are good,” Osuna said. “We have our treadmills spread out and in our locker rooms, only every other one is available.”
Powerhouse Gym district manager Reese Caramico said he mainly works at the San Jacinto location, which is family oriented and offers childcare for families and Silver Sneakers for seniors.
Alma Lopez with ZAO Athletics in San Jacinto shared how the goal of CEO Victor Cervantes is to help clients of all ages find and achieve their own personal fitness goals. With a focus on strength training, conditioning and weight loss, a variety of methods are implemented by trainer and head coach Cervantes to personalize a person’s workout.
Photos courtesy of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians