GADC's Health Fair on Block and Gallery Art Walk

Carlos Nelson (R), Executive Director for GADC, admires a selection of artwork with Perspectives-Calumet Middle School students from their Elev8 Extended Day Program.

Eunice Carson

The Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation (GADC) in collaboration with Atlantic Philanthropies' Elev8 initiative at Perspectives-Calumet Middle School, held it 3rd Health Fair on the Block on 79th Street, bustling with lots of activity and excitement.

On 79th Street between Racine and May, thirty-six organizations set up tables to talk about important health issues and all variety of health-related resources available to community members.

 "This health fair is a necessity for our residents and all those in need of vital information to better care for themselves. We expect that our partnership with Atlantic Philanthropies' Elev8 initiative will continue to inform our residents, especially middle schoolers, of affordable and qualitative health care services and organizations."

Tenisha Jones (L), GADC's Elev8 Program Director and Monique Turner (R), Perspectives-Calumet Middle School Program Manager speak with Laurie O'Dell of the Chicago Women's Health Center.

Eunice Carson

Over the course of the afternoon, approximately five hundred people stopped through, and had around two thousand encounters with the participating organizations.The Health Fair attracted women and men, senior citizens and high school students, and parents and single folk, alike.

These attendees walked up and down both sides of the block, stopping at tables belonging to all variety of organizations.

Access Community Health Network informed attendees about their available services at their new community health center at Perspectives-Calumet Middle School.

The UIC National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health spoke about diabetes, cancer prevention, breast-feeding, adolescent female health, calcium intake, health career mentoring, and college coaching.

The Chicago Department of Public Health talked about mental health, Medicaid eligibility, prenatal and pediatric care, smoking cessation, Hepatitis C, and more.

Walgreens provided free product samples, beverages, and information on their expanding health service offerings. Illinois Action for Children helped families determine their eligibility for childcare assistance programs.

Eddie B. Harris, a Perspectives-Calumet Middle School parent poses for a picture with his son (Hakeem) next to an original art piece of President Barack Obama created in the Elev8 Extended Day program.

Eunice Carson

The Campaign for Better Health Care connected people with their hotline for locating nearby health resources and information about the organization’s advocacy efforts.Additionally, many of our teenagers participated in a Jazzercise class and many people strolled through the gallery walk of Perspectives-Calumet Middle School student artwork that was set up down the street.

Individual stories flourished. New parents learned about Kegel exercises for the first time.Families were signed up for Medicaid, job counseling, and other social services.Children were enrolled in extended day childcare.People scheduled exams, registered to be organ donors, and signed up for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

In addition to these personal connections, many health service and advocacy organizations made connections of their own.Access Community Health Network connected with the local Walgreens Take Care Health Clinic, and may begin accepting referrals for the Take Care Health Clinic’s patients with more complicated health needs.

Advocacy organizations who do not frequently share the same stage but have similar interests, like the Federation for Community Schools (an Elev8 partner with GADC and Perspectives-Calumet Middle School) and Campaign for Better Healthcare, were also able to connect for the first time.

A representative from The Women's Health Foundation explains the benefit of exercising the Pelvic floor muscles and how women can improve their pelvic health and wellness for a health fair participant.

Eunice Carson

Community health fairs like this are essential to Auburn-Gresham. They are opportunities for individuals to discover the organizations and resources that exist in their neighborhood, and for those organizations to develop the bonds with one another that are necessary to create the kind of robust referral network among collaborating health and social service providers that the Elev8 program envisions and seeks to bring about.

By popular demand, the GADC and Elev8 program will be holding at least one more health event in the fall of 2009.

To tell us your thoughts, find out how you can participate in our next event, or to ask any questions, please contact Tenisha Jones ( ) or Sam Perryman (