Back to School, Health and Wellness

All photos by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

Families got a chance to boost their health and wellness while kids got free back-to-school backpacks during a weekend of community events in South Los Angeles.

About 200 people participated in a two-mile Walk4Health co-sponsored by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, St. John’s Well Child and Family Center and UMMA Clinic. Thewalk began at St. John’s and concluded at the Mt. Carmel Recreation Center, where more than 2,000 people gathered for the Back2School Community Health and Resource Fair.

Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson helped to make the event a success by providing the venue free of charge and assisting with street closures.

Among the organizations offering financial assistance and free medical, dental and mental health screenings were HealthNet, the Southside Coalition of Community Health Centers (Central City Community Health Center, Eisner Pediatric & Family Medical Center, South CentralFamily Health Center, St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, T.H.E. (To Help Everyone) Health and Wellness Centers, UMMA Community Clinic, Watts Healthcare, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, Trader Joe’s and the California Endowment.

The Special Needs Network, a nonprofit that seeks to raise public awareness of children’s developmental disabilities, handed out more than 1,500 backpacks and school supplies and provided free haircuts.

Throughout the fair, the crowd was treated to live entertainment, as well as free food and beverages. Children enjoyed a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, arts and crafts and other activities. “This event is so important because it brings much needed health and dental services into a community that has a shortage of providers,” SNN founder and president Areva Martin said. “We know that our health is our wealth and by providing families with access to high quality health care services, we ensure a stronger and more vibrant community.”