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Day of discovery for youth at yearly Ignite UR Spark Fair

April 20, 2015

LETHBRIDGE – An afternoon of discovery awaits local youth at the annual Ignite UR Spark Fair, where nearly 40 experts share their knowledge with youth ages 12 to 18 in areas such as drumming, fashion design, art, lacrosse, golf and skateboarding.

The fair takes place April 29 from noon to 5 p.m. in the Main Pavilion at Exhibition Park.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) is a partner in the project, which aims to help youth discover what they are excited and passionate about, and connect them with adults or groups in the community — Spark Champions — who can help them ‘ignite’ that ‘spark.’

Research shows helping youth find and develop interests builds their skills and confidence, making them less likely to drink alcohol and take drugs. These interests can be musical, athletic, intellectual, academic or relational – anything from playing an instrument to working with seniors.

AHS Addiction and Mental Health staff recognize engagement and mentorship in the lives of young people can come from the entire community, and every act of kindness and support for children promotes their health.

Exhibition Park provides space for interactive fun that gives kids a chance to experience activities such as dog training, playing music, doing yoga and riding skateboards. Participants leave with information about how to stay involved with activities they’ve enjoyed.

Parents must sign a waiver consenting to their child’s participation, which must be presented at the entrance to the fair. To download a waiver, visit sparkfair.ca. Parents are invited to attend. If you’d like to sign up as a Spark Champion, contact Katie Wieler at katie.wieler@uleth.ca  or Chris Windle at chris.windle@albertahealthservices.ca

Learn more about building 40 developmental assets – qualities and experiences that help young people grow to be healthy, caring and responsible adults – at www.search-institute.org or www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqzUHcW58Us.

The fair is made possible by community coalitions including the Community Substance Abuse Awareness Resource Team, the Assisted Learning Environment Response Team (ALERT) and the Community Developmental Assets Collaboration.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

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