Scores of children streamed unto the premises of the Marie Atkins Basic School on Saturday August 20, 2011 for a Back-to-School Health Fair staged by the Sunset Optimist Club of Liguanea. Under the theme “Be Ready Be Healthy” students of the basic school and children from the community of Waterhouse were provided free dental and optical examination, packages for dental care, back to school supplies, and general information on health care.
This is the second year of the health fair and one of the several activities which the Sunset Optimist Club of Liguanea has been undertaking at the school since 2008. According to the club’s President Marc- Maurice, “Our aim as Optimists is to bring out the best in children and this health fair is part of doing that. It may be a small thing on our part but it makes a tremendous difference to the lives of the children and goes a far way in helping the parents in their back-to-school efforts”.
A team from the Foundation for International Self Help Development (FISH), low cost health service provider, was joined by exhibitors and sponsors in ensuring that the children and their parents and guardians received quality treatment and information. Some of the near 100 children passing through the event were also entertained in the Pickney Village created especially for the young ones to have fun. The village was bursting with activities such as face painting, children movie and book reading by the Optimists.
“Pickney Village was intended to be a kind of edutainment centre for the children while awaiting their screenings”, said Club Director and Chair of the Health Fair Committee, Mrs. Heather Chin-Walker. “All this would not have been possible without the support of the institutions”, she continued. “They either turned out to be with the children or made their contribution in providing goodies for them; healthy goodies” she affirms. The six-hour health fair had the support of Wisynco, Grace Kennedy, HD Hopwood, Sagicor, CARIMED, Facey Commodity,Quality Chemicals Limited, Designs by Marc, and Rainbow Awnings among others.
In expressing appreciation to the Optimist Club the school representative remarked on how happy they are that the club continues to work with the children and the community. According to Principal Mrs. Tamara Satchell-Campbell, “The Marie Atkins Basic School owes a debt of gratitude to these guys. They are always looking out for us and they always mean
the children well. This is now becoming an annual event and we appreciate it so much”.
The Sunset Optimist Club of Liguanea is part of the Optimist International movement of over 3000 clubs conducting over 65,000 service projects serving well over six million children and youth around the world each year. The club was established in 1999 and works with schools in other parts of Kingston and St Andrew and Portmore, St Catherine as well as Mathew 25:40, a home for boys living with HIV and AIDS.