Health Fair teaches important life lessons

Friday, November 21, 2008
Vanita Moore from Moore Funeral Home talks to students at the Northview High School Teen Health Fair Friday in the Gymnasium. Students received information ranging in dental care to drug and alcohol awareness. Kimberly Gleason Photo.

Teens need get healthy for the future.

Northview High School held its first Teen Health Fair Friday.

Students sat in the auditorium and listened to speakers from House of Hope, who talked to them about drug abuse, addiction and recovery.

"The speakers really had a dramatic impact on the students," Health Educator Bethany Jones said. "They talked to the students about how they use to think they were invincible."

Tammy Smith also talked to the students. Her son, Travis Smith, a graduate from Terre Haute South, was killed in a car accident involving alcohol and reckless driving.

"I knew it would be emotional," Jones said. "Tammy talked of the life of her son and about the day he died. She really wanted to talk to the students about reckless driving and the impact that it can have if there is an accident."

Booths from area facilities were set up in the gym so students could pick up information and ask questions during their lunch hour.

"The students were very interested," Clay County Health Department Community Health Educator Linda Messmer, who spoke to students on tobacco cessation, said. "They have been taking information and asking questions. This was a great event."

Vanita Moore, a representative from Moore Funeral Home, was on hand to talk to the students about the grieving process.

"This was a great way for young people to know about the grieving process," she said. "Students learned that it is okay to grieve for a long time, that you learn to live with the loss of a loved one and that going through the process is normal."

Andrea Baysinger, R.N. and St. Vincent Clay Hospital Community Health Educator, was also on had to test students blood sugar, check their blood pressure and heart rate.

"Our goal is to educate as many students as we can on asthma and diabetes," Baysinger said. "This age group doesn't always think about their health in 20 years, and research shows that this generation could "possibly" be the first to not outlive their parents. So educating them is key."

The line stretched around the gym and into the hall as the students took pamphlets and asked questions.

"I didn't know what to expect," Bethany Jones said. "I would say it was a success, the students asked questions and this provides them with a valuable opportunity to know where they can go to receive help or advice in the area."

"I want the thank everyone for coming," Jones added. "This would not have been made possible without them."

The organizations that were at the Teen Health Fair included The Clay County Health Department, Northview SADD, Crisis Pregnancy Center, Child Protective Services, The Hamilton Center, Purdue Extension Office, Clay County Sheriff's Department, Brazil City Fire Department, YMCA, St. Vincent Clay Hospital, Kool Smiles, Moore Funeral Home, Solid Waste District, House of Hope (Speakers), and Tami Smith (speaker).

The goal of the event was to give the teens in the community places to go and people to talk to when making tough decisions, and Jones feels like it was met.

"The speakers all talked about their experience and they were very honest and up front with the truth," Jones said. "Tammy said it best when she told the students that the choices they make today will not only affect them but everyone. The students needed to be reminded that there are people that are there for them, that can and want to help them."

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