Soboba advocates community health

Annual health fair showcases local resources

Photos by Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians
Daniel Mazza shares simple ways people can get into a healthy habit of eating a proper diet during the second annual Community Health Fair at the Soboba Sports Complex on March 7.

■ By Mike Hiles / Contributed

The Soboba Parks and Recreation Department offers many outlets for its community members to stay healthy and play healthy. Along with ongoing sports activities, it hosts an annual community health fair that brings in local vendors to share knowledge and tips about wellness and fitness.

Courtney Crouch, left, discusses his healthy meal delivery program to Noli Indian School student Jerome Lugo, 13, at Soboba’s second annual Community Health Fair on March 7.

Ricardo Macias, Lead Recreation Aide for the department, started planning for this year’s fair in late November. Held on March 7, about 30 vendors were set up around the perimeter of the Soboba Sports Complex gymnasium to greet more than 150 visitors of all ages that arrived during the six-hour long event.
Maria “Mo” Wilson, an Herbalife representative, operates “The Healthy Spot” in East Hemet. The health club offers a place for people to learn how to effectively lose, gain or maintain their weight.
“Come in and get healthy,” Wilson told visitors to her table. “Staying healthy is based on 80 percent nutrition and 20 percent exercise. When your body gets the right nutrients you are going to feel better.”
The club she operates offers workouts, boot camps and organized hikes, among other things to promote good health. She said approximately 40 clients a day attend the club.
Daniel Mazza, a fitness specialist with Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health Inc., shared information on diabetes prevention. RSBCIHI has a comprehensive diabetes program that offers case management, education classes, nutrition and fitness visits as well as personal training and group exercise classes.

Tatiana Navarro, left, from the Hemet Eye Care Center of Optometry discusses the importance of eye care with visitors to the second annual Community Health Fair on March 7 at the Soboba Sports Complex.

The program’s mission is to provide the Native American communities it serves with an education on how to live well with diabetes and how to achieve a healthy mind, body and spirit. Mazza also hosts regular exercise classes, including one for tribal elders at Soboba, for non-diabetics.
At the health fair he offered easy ways to learn how a proper diet can make anyone feel better.
“We are here to help,” Mazza said. “We have every avenue needed in order to help with health and wellness.”
Jazmine Cabral talked to visitors about the RSBCIHI Tribal Family Partners program for parents and caregivers with Native American children up to age four. Parenting education is available from pregnancy through the child’s preschool years.
Teaching parents about child development and how they can make sure their children are on target for their age is critical. The no-cost program offers screenings, resources and personal visits that focus on parent-child activities and family wellbeing.
Courtney Crouch, a sous chef from Moreno Valley, was at the fair to share the news about the healthy meal delivery service he and his chef wife, Camille Mabon opened a few years ago. offers cooked meals delivered to residents in areas close to its Redlands kitchen, including San Jacinto.

Ricardo Macias, right, and other health fair organizers call out winners during one of the opportunity drawings.

“We source local farmers and our meats are antibiotic and hormone free,” Crouch explained. “We are also Christian-based, so we include a little scripture with our meals.”
Lovina Redner is an outreach supervisor with Soboba Tribal TANF at its Santa Rosa site. She works with about 25 children ages four through 12 at an after-school Sylvan Learning tutoring program. Keeping them active through TANF’s various programs goes a long way in ensuring a healthy outlook on life and getting a better understanding of themselves.
“We are working to develop programs for younger kids and children with special needs,” Redner said.
Representatives from Hemet Modern Dentistry and Hemet Eye Care Center of Optometry offered healthy giveaways as well as details about their services.
“We see patients from six months old to over 100 years old,” said Tatiana Navarro, Social Media Marketing Manager for optometrist Susan Martinez. “We check prescriptions, make sure eyes look healthy and are doing what they should be doing – we stress eye health.”
She said the office also offers retinal screenings and ways to monitor eye problems caused by diabetes and other diseases.
Opportunity drawings were held throughout the event with some great health-related items such as yoga mats, weights and gym memberships from Crunch Fitness and Planet Fitness, who offered information at their respective tables.
Visitors included students from Noli Indian School, across the parking lot from the sports complex, as well as Soboba employees.
“I was very satisfied with the amount of people who came out for the health fair this year,” Macias said. “I thought the vendors were awesome and provided our community with a lot of great information pertaining to health and wellness.”

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