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'When you tie in a cultural aspect to healthy habits, you’re engaged more': APIA's Unalaska Health Fair Starts Friday

Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association

The Unalaska Health Fair, organized by The Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, starts Friday, April 21.

The focus of the 2023 fair is creating a cultural base for wellbeing, ranging from behavioral health services and elder care to traditional foods.

“I really believe that when you tie in a cultural aspect to healthy habits, you’re engaged more,” said Courtney Edwards, APIA’s health promotion and wellness events coordinator.

The free fair will kick off Friday at 4 p.m. at the community center, where there’ll be 25 informational booths, dance performances by Akutanam Ax̂asniikangin, and live music by Unalaska artist Lauren Crosby. There will also an inflatable educational model called Nolan the Colon.

On Saturday, April 22, at 10 a.m., the activities will continue with a fun run, or fun walk, up Bunker Hill. And starting at noon, the community center will host a youth basketball and coaching clinic featuring former NBA player Charlie Bell.

Amy Carlough, administrator for APIA’s youth services program, said the clinic is an event that's been long in the making.

“Darn COVID stopped it many, many years ago,” said Carlough. “So we have been working with Troy Justice, who’s the senior vice president of NBA International Basketball, and he’s actually a Qawalangin tribal member. [He] wanted to give back to his community of Unalaska, and so he is sponsoring this event just for the region.”

The fair will include a community potluck Saturday at 5 p.m. at the community center. There’ll be plenty of food provided, said Edwards, but Unalaskans are encouraged to contribute as well.

“We really are hoping people will bring their favorite traditional food,” said Edwards. “Our goal is to have some really yummy traditional foods to share.”

APIA has also organized an hour-long suicide prevention training for Saturday at 5:30 p.m. The event will take place at the new Unalaska Learning Center, and there is no pre-registration required.

“Anybody in the community is welcome to attend,” said Carlough. “School staff, teachers, camp counselors, employers, coaches — really anybody who has an interest in learning how to save a life for somebody who’s in a crisis.”

Aleutian Pribilof Islands Assocation

Sofia was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She’s reported around the U.S. for local public radio stations, NPR and National Native News. Sofia has a Master of Arts in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism from the University of Montana, a graduate certificate in Documentary Studies from the Salt Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts from the University of Colorado Boulder. In between her studies, Sofia was a ski bum in Telluride, Colorado for a few years.
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