Edgewood Middle's health fair reaches out to kids and adults

November 09, 2008|By Cassandra A. Fortin | Cassandra A. Fortin,Special to The Baltimore Sun

At the start of the school year, Peg Taibi was asked by Lawrence Rudolph, the new principal of Edgewood Middle, to start a community health fair.

The school's counselor for the past 14 years, Taibi was up for the challenge.

She called on teachers and community members to help her create a hands-on event, she said.

"There are so many health fairs out there that provide a lot of good information," she said. "But information is not enough. You need hands-on activity to help people remember. "

The health fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 15. The event is open to the public and free of charge.

"We are reaching out to anyone who wants to come," she said. "Healthy children lead to healthy adults. And healthy adults lead to healthy communities."

During the day, a variety of activities will be offered. Highlights of the activities include:

* Free blood pressure screenings will be given by Upper Chesapeake HealthLink, a division of the Community Outreach Department of Upper Chesapeake Health.

* The county health department will bring information about smoking prevention and cessation programs.

* Because a growing number of children are diagnosed with allergies, Barbara Polack, the school nurse, will give demonstrations of the EpiPen, an auto-injector that administers epinephrine - an emergency treatment for anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction.

* Sandra Seufert and Jessica Holmes, health teachers at the school, are giving nutrition, food and healthy cooking demonstrations.

* Sherry Dougherty, chairwoman of the school's physical education, along with the school's other PE teachers, will be teaching visitors how to calculate their BMI. BMI, or body mass index, is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.

* Joe Ryan from the school system's Office of Drug Control Policy will be bringing games and prizes for children.

Every visitor will receive a free emergency kit that includes a flashlight, hand wash, toothbrush, dental floss, and deodorant. The kits are to be used in the event of a power outage or natural disaster.

Baskets will be given as prizes throughout the event. Donated by the teachers, the prizes include a healthy family basket, stress-free basket and healthy feet, healthy hands and healthy snack baskets.

"I've tried to put together an event that will appeal to people of all ages," Taibi said. "We have many children who have siblings who are older and family members who could benefit from information they receive at the health fair."

Information: 410-612-1518.

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