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2022 IOL Back-to-School Fair Unites Community Partners

August 25, 2022

With the school year upon us, colleagues and staff from the IOL Family Resource Center held their annual Back-To-School Community Resources Fair where they distributed over 150 backpacks filled with school supplies donated by Hartford HealthCare colleagues across the system. “The response to this year’s donation drive was overwhelming. It was such a delight for us to experience the gifts pouring into our office each day right up to our deadline. Thank you all for your kind support,” said David Krause, recovery support specialist at the IOL Family Resource Center. The free event was attended by parents and children who reveled in the cool shade of the IOL campus trees enjoying arts and crafts, rock painting, refreshments and information booths from over 20 health agencies, local institutions and non-profits. Representatives shared their knowledge and assistance from participating organizations like the Hispanic Health Council, the Center for Child Advocacy (CPAC), CT Children’s Hospital, the 211 Child Development info line, AMPLIFY and the United Way Book Club. And with the extreme heat lately, six members of the Hartford Fire Department were on hand with Main Street station engine one with giveaways and advice about fire safety. Several Hartford Hospital and IOL programs were also there, including pet therapy and HHC Food For Your Health program. Two special organizers from the summer Volunteer Program have been working weekly since early July to make the event a success - and it showed. High school senior Vangmayee Upadhyay, who also serves as a Hartford Hospital bed safety volunteer, worked with sophomore Abby Sanderson, a first-year volunteer. Together they took on the task of helping plan and put on the event by coordinating vendors, organizing activities and helping with set-up and breakdown. “I really enjoyed working from the beginning to end of this event. It brought together so many people in our community who learned valuable information and received great giveaways,” said Vangmayee, who hopes to enter the healthcare field and is considering a degree in public health. Abby also enjoyed working with everyone on the project. “Reaching out to people for a good cause has been really rewarding. This event allows us to see the difference we can all make in our communities,” she said. Melissa Deasy, director of IOL residential and ancillary services, was very pleased with the coalition of like-minded people and organizations that her team and volunteers assembled. “Many of our partners share similar missions and goals to help members of our community, especially kids. This day and its success highlight the importance and strength of our ongoing relationship building which we feel benefits everyone,” she said.