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City of Cupertino and Intra-District council host Teen Resouce Fair

Olivia Yuan
Students visit booths to learn about volunteer and job opportunities and mental health resources.

What you need to know: 

  • The Teen Resource Fair took place at Main Street, Cupertino on March 16.
  • Organized by the City of Cupertino and the FUHSD Intra-District Council’s Wellness Council, the fair offered volunteering and job opportunities and resources for health and wellness.
  • Given its exceptional turnout, the city and IDC hope to continue their collaboration and plan a repeat of the fair next year.

The Teen Resource Fair took place on March 16 at Main Street, Cupertino. A product of a partnership between the City of Cupertino and the FUHSD Intra-District Council’s Wellness Council, it introduced attendees to volunteering and job opportunities, as well as mental health and wellness resources. 

“I was looking for mental health volunteer opportunities,” junior Caitlin Zhou said. “I want to be a psychologist when I enter the field, so I thought it would be useful to come to the fair.”

Various booths and activities were situated on the lawn of Main Street, including a group yoga session led by Fremont High School’s Yoga Club. The city promoted volunteering and job opportunities. Booths from IDC and the city’s Youth Advisory Board and Teen Commission — another committee involved in organizing the event — were also present. External partners included the statewide Tobacco Use Prevention Education program and local youth wellness-based nonprofit organizations Health Connect and the Taarika Foundation.

“It’s really important for teens to gather summer volunteer hours toward areas they’re passionate about,” sophomore and Teen Commission vice chair Joyce Cheung said. “I feel that it’s really crucial for them to gain experience outside of academics and find different extracurriculars, both for fun and for their future.”

However, some attendees felt that there was still room for development. 

“Many of the job opportunities there had an age limit of 16 and above, and most of us are still 14 or 15,” freshman Isabella Chiu said. “I would have liked to see more diverse opportunities to make the fair even better and more inclusive to various parts of our community.”

In past years, the city has hosted annual job resource fairs; the most recent iteration was 2023’s Summer Jobs Fair. Likewise, events promoting mental health resources are not new — the city’s Bobateeno event has been a yearly fixture with a consistent reception. However, the Teen Resource Fair is the first event in recent years to encompass both fields with an additional focus on volunteering.

The fair was a product of convergent goals. Last August, while YAB began preparing this year’s annual resource fair, IDC was developing plans to host a wellness fair. November saw IDC secretary, YAB administrator and Wellness Council chair Dhruti Halambi connect the two committees for a mutually beneficial collaboration.

 “It was a perfect partnership for us,” City of Cupertino recreation coordinator Robert Kaufman said. “Mental health and wellness is an important topic, especially with the pandemic and all the stress that kids face trying to get through school and prepare for their future. It’s something that we try to bring to as many events and programs as possible. We weren’t initially sure how it was going to be a part of this event, but IDC did a great job of providing it.”

Working with the City of Cupertino allowed IDC to reach a larger audience for a livelier event. IDC and YAB members attribute this partially to the fair’s location on Main Street, a high-traffic venue that IDC was initially unable to obtain but that the city later booked successfully.

“IDC’s biggest aim was to push out as many quality mental health resources to as many people as possible,” Halambi said. “We were looking for a space with a lot of traffic, an event that everybody in the community could come to and have fun at, and the opportunity to exchange all these resources. I think we hit all three of these goals with this fair.”

The YAB communicated with divisions within the city and county, including Cupertino’s Parks and Recreation Department and the Santa Clara County Office of Education, to roll out volunteering and job opportunities. The Wellness Council tied in local organizations with the guidance of its co-adviser and district associate superintendent Trudy Gross. 

The collaboration proved crucial to the fair’s success, which came to be despite its spontaneous inception and other obstacles that abridged the organizational timeline. 

“Winter break and everybody getting sick definitely cut some of the planning time shorter than expected in certain places, but with what time we had, we really put together a lot,” Kaufman said.

YAB and IDC were both part of the promotional and fundraising cycle in February and March.

“YAB is very diverse; our members are from many different schools in our area,” YAB outreach specialist Tashvi Bansal said. “Since the fair was held in partnership with IDC, it was also posted in lots of emails from schools. I think these are some of the leading factors behind the good turnout.”

The committees’ district-wide presence and the bustling locale resulted in a turnout that exceeded the expectations of all groups involved. It drew in a bigger crowd than last year’s Summer Jobs Fair and is one of the Wellness Council’s largest events to date.

“The reception was surprising,” Health Connect Vice President Abigail Callahan said. “I don’t think we understood how many people would be there, but everybody who came seemed really interested and excited about what was going on.”

From the attendees’ perspective, part of the event’s appeal came from its in-person nature, which made resources and opportunities more accessible compared to other means.

“I think it can be really difficult to find opportunities online,” sophomore Jessica Steiger said. “You have to search a lot. But when you come to the fair, they’re presented to you and it’s a lot easier to immediately find what you’re looking for.”

The event’s volunteering and job aspects were not the sole recipients of attention. Organizers noted a relatively even distribution of interest, with many also flocking to booths promoting health and wellness.

“Since AP season and finals season are coming up, many students wanted to know how they could connect with their school counselor or find other wellness resources, like hotlines,” Halambi said. “We had many people asking IDC about that.”

Members of YAB and the Wellness Council hope to make this fair an annual occurrence. Future iterations will likely see a greater diversity of booths from both the city and external organizations. There are plans for the latter to include various clubs from every school in the district. Mental health will also remain a central focus of the fair.

“In the future, IDC wants to keep repeating this fair alongside the City of Cupertino,” Halambi said. “I think the overall mission is so needed by our community.”

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About the Contributor
Olivia Yuan, Staffer
(she/her) Olivia is a sophomore and looking forward to her first year on staff. She loves doing crosswords, making strange edits of her friends, and taking unnecessarily long walks around the neighborhood. She idolizes jellyfish.

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