Community Collaboration for the Kids
By Fatima N. Plater, Vice President-Elect, Northeast & Great Lakes Region
July 24, 2014
The safety of youth has always been a concern for Optimists and working with community organizations helps carry out that important effort. The Metro Riverfront Optimist Club of Detroit, WSU Warriors Optimist Club of Wayne State University and the Detroit Loving Community Optimist Club partnered to conduct a Community Health and Safety Fair. The fair was sponsored in part by a grant awarded by the Optimist International Foundation.
Renaissance Head Start has been actively involved in delivering developmental comprehensive services to children and families for over 29 years, which made it the perfect location for the fair. The Head Start program provides health, nutrition, social services, early childhood development, and family engagement for over 300 families city-wide, providing a “brighter tomorrow” for children and families in Detroit.
Optimists know the importance of making learning about safety fun. Approximately 60 families enjoyed face painting provided by a volunteer in a fun costume. Fair attendees were given healthy snacks and balloons. There were raffles for bikes, razor gliders, safety helmets, grocery gift cards and health-themed gift baskets.
The 10th precinct of the Detroit Police Department provided gift certificates for children’s shoes. A police officer made presentations about safety on wheels and gun safety. A Downtown Boll YMCA instructor gave a Tai Chi demonstration that brought together families and volunteers in a great form of relaxation.
New York Life Insurance provided fingerprint and photo IDs for the children. Karmano Cancer Institute organized interactive anti-smoking and skin cancer awareness displays. Children’s Hospital of Michigan gave out Injury Prevention, Safety in the Home, and Child Car Safety Seat guides, along with mini first aid kits. Students from the University of Detroit- Mercy School of Dentistry gave oral health demonstrations through puppetry and performed dental exams.
Numerous parents said they were glad their families had attended the event. Members fondly remember children with painted faces smiling on their photo IDs and the excitement of families waiting to receive their raffle prizes. The Community Health and Safety Fair reflected the tenet of the Optimist Creed that states: “To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.”
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