By GABRIELLA CRUZ-MARTÍNEZ
Dyett High School for the Arts, 555 E. 51st St., opened its doors for the third consecutive year to accommodate Ald. Sophia King’s Fourth Ward Shred-a-Thon and the 27th Annual Health and Housing Fair on August 25.
Throughout the morning, students grades from kindergarten to eightgh grade received free back-to-school physicals, haircuts and backpacks filled with school supplies. Attendees were offered on site services such as health care screenings, State ID and Driver Licenses renewals, blood pressure checks, vision pressure checks, dental screenings, HIV testing and a senior pavilion.
Five-year-old Jessy was thrilled with her new backpack which featured her favorite Disney Princess Moana. Her mother, who did not want to give her name, said she was appreciative of events that offered the community “easy access to health screenings and preparations for the new school year.”
Mackenzie Thurman, director of communications and policy for King said, “We’re glad to be celebrating the 27th year of this community-wide event. Community participation has been growing steadily each year, with more organizations offering their time and volunteer work to reach out and give back to the public. With the back-to-school season just around the corner, it’s easier for parents to have a one-stop station where they and their children can receive health screenings, receive orientation, and get ready for the new year.”
She said, “this event is a great example of how we can all come together. We’re thankful for the dedicated volunteers and organizations that have made this happen.”
Some of the vendors included the Chicago Department of Public Health’s South Side Diabetes Project, University of Chicago Medicine, Comcast, Hyde Park Property Management, Genesis Housing Development and the Chicago Housing Authority.
The 2018 Health and Housing Fair also had several informational seminars throughout the day on healthy eating, mortgage relief and landlord and tenants rights.
Dr. McDonald assistant professor of Medicine at The University of Chicago and Associate Director of Adult Clinical Nutrition at the U. of C. Hospital gave participants a free cooking lesson, with helpful nutritional tips.
“I wanted to offer attendees easy to make recipes they could prepare at home that had healthy nutritional value,” said McDonald, who is also a trained chef. “During my presentation, we prepared vegetarian tacos and talked about portion control and health benefits of including veggies in your daily diet.”
McDonald has a weight management clinic at the University of Chicago and encouraged attendees to visit his online blog where he posts healthy recipes, healthy eating resources and informational articles about nutrition daily at www.thedocskitchen.com
Aside from the Health and Housing Fair, visitors also participated in the Shred-A-Thon, where attendees safely destroyed and disposed of unwanted and sensitive documents and electronics.
“We had a steady flow of people come in throughout the morning to dispose of electronics and shred documents,” said Thurman. “It’s an activity we wish to repeat as it’s been such a success.”
King thanked participants through social media.
“A huge thank you to everyone who came out to our 27th Annual Fourth Ward Health and Housing Fair,” said King. “We gave hundreds of backpacks, immunizations, health screenings and much more.”
In response to the activity, President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners Toni Preckwinkle, who launched the Health and Housing Fair 27 years ago during her time as Alderman of the Fourth Ward, said in a written statement, “I applaud Alderman Sophia King and the non-profit, city and state agencies working with the community to improve the quality of life for residents. Furthermore, I commend you for providing school supplies for the children in the community. With these supplies you are empowering students with the tools they need for a successful school year.”
Preckwinkle said, “I am pleased that the tradition continues to meet the needs of the people of the Fourth Ward.”
Both events were hosted by Ald. King (4th) and State Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-26th).