Kelli Hurtado of “Let’s Get Moving Mondays” hosted a Body, Mind & Spirit Wellness Fair at the Soboba Sports Complex on March 13. About 30 vendors, located inside and outside the gymnasium, shared health-related information and items with hundreds of guests who attended throughout the six-hour event.
This is the second fair Hurtado has hosted and said the purpose of the events is to get people out and for them to learn about ways they can promote strong mental, physical and spiritual health in their own lives and with their families. Amid upbeat music played by DJ Mike Nevarez, Hurtado checked in with each vendor.
“I want to bring different things to the people and let them know there is help out there if they need it,” Hurtado said. “Just being outside is healing. My goal for today is for everyone to relax, laugh and have a good time.”
She feels it’s important to give young people productive things to do to keep them away from drugs and alcohol and her personal experience with addiction has made her want to help others avoid it.
“When my older children were little, I was on drugs really bad. My dad finally had enough and told me not to come home and that I couldn’t see my kids anymore. That was my wake-up call,” Hurtado said. “I was hurt, and I was also grieving for all the people we had lost, and I didn’t want my children to go through that and lose me, too. I went to Soboba Indian Health, got placed in a 5-day detox in the desert and I never looked back. I have been drug-free for 18-1/2 years.”
The mother of four has three grandchildren and said it took her awhile to put her life back together, but she did, and now wants to help others know where to find the resources they might need to start over or get on a healthy path.
Hurtado also likes helping small businesses promote their products and services by giving them a showcase like these fairs.
One of those is Emma Nevarez of Semi Homemade Momma who creates snackable containers of vegetables and fruits that look as good as they taste. Using the freshest ingredients, she assembles her grab-and-go boxes that sometimes include edible flowers. She started her business about three years ago so she could be a full-time stay-at-home mom to her three children who are 4, 5 and 6 years old. She said they love fruits and vegetables and pretty much everything she makes.
“I developed my own style and it’s therapeutic for me,” Nevarez said. “I started my own blog and post recipes and pictures of healthy foods to encourage others to cook and cook things for their kids.”
Her blog can be found on Instagram @semihomemademomma.
Suvóova Sweet Treats was established in 2020 by Antiana Briones after she began selling her popular sweets at her sister’s Frybread Kitchen pop-up. She said her milk chocolate covered strawberries are a favorite with customers but she’s always trying out new treats such as mini funnel cakes.
Briones is also hosting her own event on April 3 at the Old Soboba Casino parking lot. The Autism Acceptance Market will feature food vendors, face painting and animal balloons, a sensory booth, music, raffles and information booths. It is open to the general public and all are welcome.
Sheila Pico from Pechanga began an Indigenous Wellness Market last August that has been very successful. It supports many creative arts and shares alternative medicine choices such as herbs and teas.
“We need to get back to our roots and use natural things from our ancestors; we can’t have our people depend on clinics,” she said. “Our focus is on healing within and getting to the root cause, not just putting a band-aid on it.”
Pico said the markets have given visitors the opportunity to reconnect and feel the good energy around them. She said all of that leads to positive results.
“Everything we touch we absorb into our bodies and it all affects our mind and body. Our body is like a tree. If it is fed the right minerals and food it will grow,” she said. “Food is medicine and we need to learn the right kinds to eat to help us heal.”
Her most recent market, at Pechanga Park, had about 50-plus vendors with everything from natural skin care products to locally sourced honey. Creative artists also had booths there.
“Doing beadwork has a lot of healing powers too,” Pico said. “It’s just a happy place to come.”
She is planning her next event for Mother’s Day weekend. For updates visit her on Instagram, @indigenouswellnessmarket.
Tiara Rogers from Ribbons of Sovereignty is a personal coach who helps clients get healthy in mind, body and spirit. She created an allergy salve for her son’s eczema that contains all-natural ingredients. She shares the recipe and sells the product because her goal is to help empower others.
“Sovereignty is about ownership and how we can govern ourselves and become empowered,” she said. “I want to help people bring back sovereignty within themselves.”
Rogers has been teaching health classes for about six years and helps clients find out what they need nutritionally and in other ways to bring balance into their lives.
Anthony Hurtado, Kelli’s nephew, shared an introduction to the Luiseño language, using words that were related to wellness and healing. Majoring in Public Health and minoring in linguistics at UC, San Diego, he picked a few words to share with attendees.
“Language is part of our identity – that in itself can be very healing,” he said. “You can repeat healing words to visualize, which allows us to manifest it. Language carries a lot of spiritual healing and I try to instill it in others when I get an opportunity to share. I’m not exactly fluent but I’ve been learning from a young age.”
Dave and Mary Trujillo opened the House of Pain Southern California boxing and fitness club in Temecula about two years ago. It is a place where young people can go to get in shape but also to be mentored. Many youth from Soboba train there including boxer Jimmy Nunez, who is soon to go professional. Dave Trujillo said just two years ago, Nunez was in a bad place doing drugs and alcohol and partying too much. In the past year and a half that he has been with House of Pain he has been totally clean, has transformed himself and is working his way through the amateur ranks.
“Now he owns his own destiny,” director and head trainer Dave Trujillo said. “We can’t hold him back – he’s untouchable.”
The Trujillos opened their club during the pandemic when they saw so many kids needing something to keep them busy. They started with about 20 members and are approaching 100 and growing. For more information, www.hopscboxingclub.com.
Jessica Escobedo of Jess of Cakes brought her unique flavored cupcakes to share. She makes all her items from scratch and offers Mexican-inspired flavors such as marzipan and horchata. Although she has been baking for a long time, it was during the pandemic that she started doing more of it because she enjoys it. After moving to San Jacinto about a month ago, she has really focused on making a go of her business. She is on Instagram and can be reached at email@example.com.
“I like seeing smiles on people’s faces when they eat my cakes,” Escobedo said. “They’re not extremely sweet and they offer something different.”
Wayne Cortez, a peer support specialist with Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health Inc., shared his handmade prayer ties that he said can help release worries and fears. Other members of the agency offered information on mental health topics and important drug facts.
Hurtado is already planning for another Body, Mind & Spirit Wellness Fair this summer. Those interested in having a booth can reach her at KHurtado@soboba-nsn.gov.
Photos courtesy of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians