Health fair addresses many issues in community

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 14, 2005

Macedonia Baptist Church hosted the first annual Children’s Health Fair in Hobson Saturday morning.

The idea for the fair came out of North Suffolk Churches United, a group of five churches that came together initially as a prayer group after Sept. 11, 2001.

Macedonia, Faith Lutheran, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, Beech Grove United Methodist and Ebenezer United Methodists make up NSCU.


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Through the Children’s Health Fair, and more projects in the future, NSCU is striving to reach out as a group of different denominations and different communities which are coming together in North Suffolk to address issues, such as poverty, troubling to that part of the city.

Dr. Latricia Baker, a member of Ebenezer UMC, and a pediatric resident at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, said, “I wanted to put together and do a health fair for this community, and NSCU wanted it too; so, we just merged the ideas.

“It’s a chance to reach out to a different community, we hopefully form a tighter bond and get to know our neighbors.”

Baker, along with Macedonia lay member and Fair organizer Mary Hill, said they hope this fair becomes a regular, possibly annual event in Hobson.

“This is something we can continue to do, and we’re grateful for Pastor LeMon (Ebenezer) and Pastor Benton (St. Andrew’s) for getting this to happen.”

Hill said.

“A lot of this is useful for parents too,” said Kristen Heinan, a medical student at Eastern Virginia Medical School, who was helping with the Teen Health Care Learning Center.

“Many times kids are looking to their parents for help, and now maybe they can be a little better equipped.”

The effort put forth by the adults wasn’t lost on the young participants.

“We learned about buckle up safety, and about food control and food poisoning,” said Laquita Brown, 15.

Tashena Hatton, 14, said, “We learned how to watch our weight by watching the food we eat.”

Addressing drug use was also part of Heinan’s learning center

“It’s important for kids to know that not everyone is using drugs,” she said.

Heinan said many times teens hear statistics about how many kids their age are using drugs, but instead of that information turning them away from drugs, it makes them feel a lot of teens around them are doing drugs.

Passing on knowledge about things that impact children’s health was an important part of the morning.

Five different learning centers (pharmacy, nutrition/fitness, infant care, child care and teen care) as well as evaluation centers for vision, fitness and dental screenings were in the fellowship hall.

“This fair is definitely valuable and definitely a necessity,” Hill said, “it brings our neighborhood closer together and I do believe we are our brothers’ keepers.”