Breastfeeding Coalition, 911 sponsor community health fare to raise awareness
Published 8:44 am Friday, October 9, 2015
Almost 20 organizations participated in a health fair to raise awareness of community organizations and health issues for families on Thursday at Carter County Emergency Communications 911.
The event was organized through a partnership between the BABE Breastfeeding Coalition and 911.
Dozens of moms were exploring the fair with their young children. The youngsters mingled and interacted with emergency personnel, while parents had the opportunity to learn about groups, activities and programs.
Children received kazoos, balloons, pencils, Junior Deputy stickers, fireman’s hats, and other goodies, while their parents learned about health and safety programs.
“I think it’s fabulous to bring all these groups together along with public safety,” said Lesley Hughes, a 911 dispatcher.
Hughes said that so frequently, parents tell their kids that if they do not behave, officers will arrest them. Though that it is with good intentions, she added, it sends the wrong message to children.
“They need to know they are good people who are here to help,” she said, adding that children need to know who they can call on for help and need to be able to trust people in uniform, rather than to fear them.
Children climbed inside the fire truck and patrol car and got to meet Elizabethton Firemen Aaron Lloyd and William Shoun, Elizabethton Police Captain Art Smithdeal and Carter County Deputy Sheriff Tonya Range.
“We try to foster a positive relationship with kids to let them know that we are the good guys so they will look to people in uniform for help. We hope that continues throughout their lifetime,” said Range. “The relationship we establish at a grade school level usually continues with them, and it’s pretty neat to think that you’ve had a good influence. We like to think it will be a lasting legacy for the future.”
A Niswonger Children’s Hospital representative was present, promoting child car seat safety, and the Carter County Health Department was promoting smoke-free environments for children as well as upcoming smoke-free events.
The Southern Appalachian Birth Network provided evidence-based information about birthing options for women. “By educating moms we can demand better healthcare from our providers,” Chapter Leader Gratia Cash said,
Cloth diapers were on display from The Rebecca Foundation’s Cloth Diaper Closet to teach parents about an eco-friendly option and how functional and easy the contemporary styles are to use.
Also present were representatives from TennCare Kids, the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library, Downtown Chiropractic, Northeast Community Credit Union, Cash Express, Lullabies and Love, the Carter County Health Department’s Tennessee Intervention for Pregnant Smokers and Youth Smoking Prevention and CHIPS Domestic Violence Center.
“Expecting a child is a lot less scary when you see how many groups exist to support you,” said Cash.