On Tuesday, NorthShore Health Centers kicked off their National Health Center Week celebration by hosting patients and the community at their Lake Station location for the annual Patient Appreciation Health & Fun Fair.
The NorthShore Patient Appreciation Health & Fun Fair has grown over the years as members of the community learn about NorthShore’s mission to provide great, affordable healthcare and access to valuable community resources. With these goals in mind, along with NorthShore’s knack for throwing an outstanding celebration, it makes for a incredible day for kids and families.
“National Health Centers Week is a big event celebrating community health centers, so we really love to be involved and get in on the celebration every year,” said Tricia Hall, Marketing Manager at NorthShore Health Centers. “We find that this is a great way to bring the community together and to provide them with a free, safe event.”
A new initiative that NorthShore has introduced to this year’s Health & Fun Fair was the Teddy Bear Clinic, where children were encouraged to bring in their favorite doll or stuffed animal to receive a mock check-up. It’s a great way to help ease the concerns that children have when they first visit the doctor or the dentist.
“They can get a little dental, vision and medical check-up on their dolls as a way to relieve the children’s fear of going to the doctor and to make it fun for them,” said Hall.
“NorthShore’s Family Care and the Prenatal Program are hosting the Teddy Bear Clinic and through that we teach the kids about wellness, dental check-ups, and vision,” Michelle Higel, NorthShore Lead Family Care Coordinator. “Through the whole process we’re educating both the child and their parent about necessary steps to take for the whole family to be healthy.”
“The kids love it!,” Higel added. “They get a toothbrush, bandaids, and a pair of sunglasses to take home with them. We try to educate everyone but it’s also a fun activity for them. It helps decrease the fear of going to the doctor when they get to see and touch some of the dental equipment and the tools that the doctor uses.”
Along with the Teddy Bear Clinic, there were tons of fun activities for kids and families. From bounce houses and games hosted by NorthShore personnel and partnering vendors to Papa John’s pizza and the Kona Ice Truck, there was something for everyone at this year’s Patient Appreciation Health & Fun Fair.
Kona Ice was setting aside 20% of their earnings to put towards the NorthShore team’s ‘Jean Fund,’ which ultimately ends up in a patient fund that is used to help NorthShore patients afford treatments and procedures outside of what NorthShore Health Centers are able to provide.
NorthShore also welcomed a broad range of community organizations and resources that were happy to celebrate with, and ready to assist, patients and members of the community
“Any type of organization or resource that our families could use were invited out today,” said Gervay Dickerson, Lead Event Coordinator/Lead Outreach Coordinator for NorthShore Health Centers.
“This event is all about reaching out to families in the community, reaching our patients to show them some appreciation, and to let them know that we really, truly appreciate them,” Dickerson added. “Summer is almost over and kids will soon be back in school so we really wanted to have a celebration for them, but also we encourage them to not forget about the health aspect.”
Lake Station resident, Dana Dykhuis, found out about the event on Facebook and decided to bring her family.
“I’ve always gone by and seen the event happening but I’ve never known what it was all about,” Dykhuis said. “So, when I saw the event on Facebook I thought, ‘Well, I’m going to take my kids to this!’”
“I thought they would enjoy it and they loved it!” she added. “There are a lot of good resources here that I wouldn’t have known were offered if I hadn’t come out today.”
To find out more about NorthShore Health Centers, visit: www.northshorehealth.org/