Kids Care Fest 2017

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In its 16th year, the annual Kids Care Fest hit the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds for the third straight year on Oct.14. Though the day was hot and clear, families were filing into the event even before it had opened. Last year, the event drew nearly 1,000 people – adults and youngsters. That’s one of the beauties of this Care Fest – they will take care of anybody, kids and families alike. The 3F health festival – Free Fun Family – was full of check-ups and preventative information and much more.

In its 16th year, the annual Kids Care Fest hit the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds for the third straight year on Oct.14. Though the day was hot and clear, families were filing into the event even before it had opened. Last year, the event drew nearly 1,000 people – adults and youngsters. That’s one of the beauties of this Care Fest – they will take care of anybody, kids and families alike. The 3F health festival – Free Fun Family – was full of check-ups and preventative information and much more. On site, they offered dental and vision screenings, flu shots, safety demonstrations, cholesterol and blood pressure checks for the adults, pony rides and other activities for the kids – all for free, including the hot dogs and drinks (courtesy of the Lakeside Optimist club).

Nearly 30 different booths offered services and support organizations to families, with a little fun thrown in for the kids. Dozens of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals conducted exams, answered questions and gave advice throughout the day.

Presented by the Grossmont Healthcare District, the event included many other sponsors and supporters: Rady Children’s Hospital, Sharp Grossmont Hospital, the El Capitan Stadium Association (aka, the Lakeside Rodeo), KUSI News, the Lakeside Chamber of Commerce, the Santee-Lakeside Rotary Club, Radio Latina, the Lakeside Union School District, and others.

“This is a great example of public tax money going right back into the community,” said Gloria Chadwick, board vice president and one of the five directors of the district. A veteran of 19 years on the Board, she is understandably proud of their work, a sentiment echoed by the board’s president, Michael Emerson.

“Your tax dollars are at work here,” noted the 10-year board member, part of an elected team that oversees a 750 square mile health care district, said to be the largest of its kind in California. The district serves San Diego’s east county, from La Mesa to the county line.

With healthcare in the news daily, from the nationwide battle over Obamacare to the local Hepatitis A epidemic, our personal well-being is on the minds of most right now. And while healthcare is an important issue for everyone, there is little more concerning than our children going without the medical care they need. That’s one of the reasons the Grossmont Healthcare Board stepped up to create this event. In fact, the idea for the Fest sprang forth years ago, with a move to shutdown the pediatrics unit at Grossmont Hospital. Though the plan would have saved quite a bit of money for the district, the Board unanimously said no. To reaffirm the pediatric unit and their commitment to it, the Board initiated the Kids Care Fest – which is still going strong in its 16th year.

The participants’ expertise spanned a wide variety of kids’ health concerns. While much of the emphasis was on day-to-day medical issues such as dental, vision, and personal health care, there were offshoots to address other significant yet less well known issues that affect our children. One of the more poignant booths was staffed by “Sharp on Survival,” an institute for injury and violence prevention. Here, several young men spoke from their wheelchairs and their tragic personal experience, explaining to children and their parents the need for helmets and seatbelts to prevent unintentional injury. Such lifelong consequences are seldom considered. The kids even got to see how delicate the brain is, what it looks like and how it feels (with life-like replicas).

At the other end of the table, Kathy Quinn was giving away free books to kids. Quinn is the director of the Herrick Community Healthcare Library, which serves the Grossmont Healthcare District. Located on Wakarusa Street near Grossmont Hospital, the little-known library is open to the public and free to use. Its mission is to meet the health information needs of the community. Their collection includes books, magazine, newsletters, DVDs, and even internet links to help educate and answer questions about your healthcare. The library is named after the late Dr. William C Herrick, who served as a doctor and then a board member for almost 40 years.

By all accounts, the Kids Care Fest was a huge success and will be back again in 2018. Make your plans now – there is no good excuse or reason why anyone with children should allow this great event to pass them by without a visit. Your kids deserve it.

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