Annual health fair offers family fun Saturday in Oxford

lifestyle_healthnewsBy Michaela Gibson Morris

Daily Journal

OXFORD – Kids and parents can get into the swing of the school year at the annual children’s health fair hosted by Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi.

The free fair will run from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 23 at the Oxford Conference Center, and there will be plenty for children up to 12 and their parents to explore at the “Under the Sea”-themed event.

“By educating children at a young age to make healthy lifestyle choices, the chances increase that they will continue to make the right choices throughout their lifetime,” said Bill Henning, chief executive officer for Baptist-North Mississippi.

Children, who should be accompanied by an adult, will be able to learn about fire and bike safety. They will be able to tour a fire truck, ambulance and the hospital’s helicopter. They will enjoy arts and crafts, story time and a magic show. There will be free screenings for hearing, vision, speech, development milestones and dental health.

“The health fair is an excellent opportunity for children to receive free screenings and information on health, nutrition and safety,” said Jennifer Eastland, community relations coordinator at Baptist-North Mississippi.

More than 50 vendors will have giveaways, activities and refreshments. The giveaway items will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

LOU Excel by 5 coalition has partnered with Baptist-North Mississippi to expand offerings related to early childhood at the children’s health fair over the past several years, said Alice Ricks, executive director of the United Way of Oxford and Lafayette County, which spearheads the coalition.

“These early years are so critical in making sure a child is ready for kindergarten,” Ricks said.

New this year, Excel by 5 will host two workshops for parents at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. during the health fair. “Three Common Parenting Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them!” will be led by University of Mississippi psychology professor Carey Dowling.

The Lafayette County Literacy Council will present “Just 15 Minutes a Day! How and Why to Read to Your Child from Birth.”

Child care will be offered for workshop participants; parents just need to sign their children in before the workshops begin, Ricks said. Younger children will have a supervised activity area. Older children will be supervised at a magic show.

The workshops kick off a series that will be offered throughout the school year by the LOU Excel by 5 Coalition.

“We are strong believers in making sure parents have information, resources and support systems they need,” Ricks said.

michaela.morris@journalinc.com

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TO GO

• For information, call (662) 232-8109 or visit baptistonline.org/north-mississippi/back-to-school-health-fair/.