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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Gompers School holds first annual health fair

(LEFT) Marly Rene, ’19 and (RIGHT) Ashley Bliss, from Americorps VISTA Biology Department, speak to a Gompers student about SJU Science Outreach. PHOTOS: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

City initiative provides health information and resources to community

Samuel Gompers School, located behind St. Joe’s campus, held its first annual Health Fair for students and community members on Jan. 30.

Organized through the City of Philadelphia’s Community Schools Initiative, the event was open to both Gompers students and local community members and was created as an opportunity to educate those in attendance about the importance of physical health.

“The effect is to promote [a] healthy lifestyle,” said Rennie Parker, community school coordinator for Samuel Gompers Elementary School. “One of our priorities of our school is to live a healthy lifestyle, for all our children to be aware of health, of physical activities, just teaching children to live a healthy lifestyle and being productive and learn about their communities.”

There were 20 organizations present offering free health screenings, informational pamphlets, samples of healthy foods and educational games for the students.

Helen Muldowney ’80, a Health Education Center (HEC) specialist at Lankenau Medical Center, offered a wheel of health game for children and free blood pressure tests for adults.

Muldowney said the wheel of health involved spinning the wheel and answering a corresponding question about health and safety and was popular with the students at the fair.

“[The students] love the wheel,” Muldowney said. “It’s a game, it’s fun, it’s like the Wheel of Fortune.”

(LEFT) Flo Byarms, (RIGHT) Helen Muldowney ’80 talk to a Gompers student.

Another organization in attendance was the Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry at Temple University, which gave out free toothpaste and toothbrushes to people who visited their table.

Brittany Simmons, a Kornberg junior, said the table, decorated with working jaw models and shiny boxes of toothpaste, had attracted a good deal of interest.

“We had a lot of students actually come by and say ‘I have a brother or sister, can I take one for them?’” Simmons said. “So we know that people are looking out for each other.”

Since St. Joe’s has been trying to develop a stronger relationship with Gompers, there were tables for university organizations at the fair. One of those organizations was the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support. Lindsey DelCarlino, Kinney’s associate director of programs, was handing out ribbons and candy to the kids, along with information on the center’s programs for parents and faculty.

“We were in conversation [about providing] training for faculty on how to work with individuals with autism,” DelCarlino said. “When they had the health fair, we were very happy to come and join, having some resources available to the kids here, faculty and families.”

Samuel Gompers School, located behind St. Joe’s main campus.

The other St. Joe’s organization in attendance was SJU Science Outreach, which offers summer camps and other educational experiences to local children.  

Marly René ’19, a biology major who works in SJU Science Outreach’s Seedlings Program, said students enrolled in the program were enthusiastic about learning about the human body.

“We take them through various lessons, trips and adventures where they’re really creative and they get to understand at a young level the importance of our health,” Renee said. “They love it, they really do.”


Erin Breen ’19 contributed to this story.

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