GADC’s Health Fair on the Block

GADC's Michelle Mason (L) poses for a photo with a representative from the Chicago Department of Health. Anita Davenport, Public Health Nurse Supervisor (not pictured).

Ernest Sanders

Several hundred Auburn Gresham residents and visitors attended Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation’s (GADC) 1st Annual Health Fair on the Block. This fair had participation from nearly 30 healthcare agencies and providers, service organizations, educational institutions, and local retail businesses all promoting some aspect of health and wellness in Auburn Gresham.

An Auburn Gresham grandparent holds his grandson and important health information from the Chicago Department of Public Health while he drinks his Hi-C.

Ernest Sanders

Inspired by Michelle Mason, GADC’s new Integrated Services in Schools (ISS) Program Manager, these existing partnerships and new ones endorsed and promoted healthy lifestyle choices for Auburn Gresham residents and others.

Additionally, this health fair reinforced a 4-year national grant from Atlantic Philanthropies in which GADC was selected as one of five schools in the City of Chicago to provide integrated educational, health and support services at PCS-Calumet Campus Middle School to reduce barriers to learning, while strengthening connections between home and school, and improving outcomes for youth.

One other important aspect of this 4-year initiative is GADC & PCS-Calumet’s alliance with ACCESS Community Health Network. Beginning in October of this year, ACCESS will operate a school-based healthcare center at PCS-Calumet that advances the health of the PCS-Calumet middle school students and the community. More specifically, they will have comprehensive physical and mental health services available to students and the community. 

Chicago Health Corp's Chase Woodward (L) and a recruiting representative from Perspectives Charter School-Calumet Campus prepare documents for participants.

Ernest Sanders

When asked about the significance of this health fair, Mason said, “It is very important that we build better communities through the promotion of practicing healthy lifestyles. Our residents deserve to know what resources are available to them in order to nourish their livelihood.”

Carlos Nelson, Executive Director for GADC similarly agrees. He said, “This health fair is important facet to the community’s quality of life and ensures our residents have access to pertinent information as healthcare institutions and programs and services, which enables them to care for themselves and others.”

It was very apparent that this health fair established stronger relationships among community leaders, service providers, school officials, and parents. By the end of the fair, two families started the enrollment application for Illinois’ All Kids Insurance program; five parents and/or expecting mothers signed up for the University of Illinois Extension Program’s Parenting Class; more than 84 registered with the Chicago Department of Public Health to receive other relevant materials; and one expecting mother won a raffle sponsored by the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Sharon Stokes, Auburn Gresham's Center for Working Families (R) gives information to LISC's new Center for Working Families Manager.

Ernest Sanders

Those who participated and provided educational materials, gift certificates, and giveaway merchandise included: ACCESS Community Health Network (ACCESS), The American Heart Association, The National Alzheimer's Association, The American Cancer Society, The American Diabetes Association, Chicago Health Corps, Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC), The Center for Disease Control, Harvard Medical School Patient Education Center, The Chicago Department of Public Health, The Illinois Department of Human Services, Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Chicago (LISC/Chicago), Perspectives Charter Schools-Calumet Campus (PCS-Calumet), St. Sabina Employment Resource Center’s Center for Working Families, State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins, Uhlich Children’s Advantage Network (UCAN), University of Illinois Extension Program, African Hair Braiding, AGAPE, Allstate Insurance, Curves, Fuller Barber Shop, Sensual Steps Shoe Salon, and Lots of Love Preschool Academy.

A special thanks goes out to all of those who volunteered to make this a successful event.