More than a thousand schoolchildren are returning to school with free backpacks, thanks to Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and community organizations in South Los Angeles, which teamed up to host back-to-back events fostering health and wellness.
The Walk4Health, Back2School Backpack Giveaway, and Community Health and Resource Fair all coincided with National Health Center Week, intended to celebrate America’s innovators in community health.
“We take time to commemorate National Health Center Week and recognize community health centers for delivering comprehensive, high-quality preventive and primary health care to patients regardless of their ability to pay,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.
The two-mile Walk 4 Health started at St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, continued to UMMA Clinic, and ended at Mt. Carmel Recreation Center where about 80 vendors offered medical, developmental and mental health screenings, pro bono legal clinics, and educational workshops.
The fair also featured fun activities, including arts and crafts, pony rides, a petting zoo, bouncy house, gaming stations, music, free food, and a raffle that included an iPad among the prizes.
More than 1,2000 children and teens received free backpacks during the Back 2 School event co-sponsored by the Special Needs Network (SNN), California’s leading grassroots autism advocacy organization, for an afternoon filled with family-friendly fun and critical socialization.
“We began Back 2 School to provide underserved children and youths with the tools essential for school success,” SNN president and cofounder Areva Martin, Esq., said. “Today, we address not only academic needs, but health and wellness as well.”
Other event partners included Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, the Southside Coalition of Community Health Centers, St. John’s Well Child and Family Center and UMMA Clinic.