Several CDS members were among the nearly 700 volunteers who made the 19th Annual Kids First Health Fair a success. Nearly 400 free dental exams were given Aug. 3 to Lake County children preparing for the 2011-2012 school year.
“Students need to be ready to hit the ground running when the first day of school arrives, and the health services provided at the fair help make that happen,” Roycealee Wood, Lake County Regional Superintendent of Schools, said in a prepared release. “Without the completion of certain health requirements, a student could be excluded from attending school.”
The Kids First Health Fair is sponsored by the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center, with support from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, The United Way of Lake County and The Abbott Fund.
Kids First has served nearly 30,000 children since its inception in 1993. Prior to that year, many children in Lake County were failing to receive required health services in time for school deadlines. The Health Department worked with local businesses and agencies to coordinate volunteers for the one-day event.
This year, 955 children from 471 families were greeted by nurses, lab technicians, health aids, physicians, dentists, local residents, corporate employees and bilingual volunteers offering immunizations, dental screenings, physicals and other health services for kids all in one place. At the end of the day, volunteers provided a total of 525 physicals, 394 dental exams and 182 immunizations
Additionally, a variety of social service agencies are represented at the Fair to provide families with information on issues such as child care, crisis intervention, education, health services, housing, employment, parenting, substance abuse, legal services, safety, family counseling and other community services.
The Fair is free for Lake County families that meet specific income guidelines and provide proof of residency. For example, a family of four with a gross income limit of $41,348 would qualify for Fair services. Upon evidence of completion of all required health services, school-age children received free books, a new backpack and age-appropriate school supplies.
Before the Fair was established, a large number of students were excluded from schools because they failed to complete their health requirements. Today, medical and dental compliance rates in the Waukegan public schools, one of several school districts involved with the Fair, are close to 100 percent.
Pictured: Dr. Thomas Bleck of Wadsworth performs a free dental exam on a student.