To Melissa Herron, nothing is more important than her 17-month-old daughter, Michellé. Herron attended a recent health fair at Next Door with her daughter to learn more about how to keep the little girl safe.
“I came here today to make myself more aware of potential life-saving trainings in case my daughter is ever in danger,” the 31-year-old mother said. “They didn’t have things like this back when I was a kid and I think my parents would have loved to experience a training seminar to become more aware of healthcare resources.”
Herron said the hearing and vision screenings for her child — Michellé checked out fine — were the most beneficial aspect of the event. In addition, “everyone was so friendly and willing to help,” she said.
Next Door and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan teamed up to educate parents about health, safety and nutrition for their children at the Baby Building Blocks and Community Health Fair. Next Door is a birth-to-5 early learning school that serves nearly 2,000 children at three locations in Milwaukee. UHC hosts Baby Building Blocks baby shower events for pregnant moms and children up to age 3.
About two dozen parents and 31 children attended the health fair, which took place for the first time at Next Door. According to Angela Lampkin, early Head Start director, in previous years it has been held at the United Healthcare facility in Milwaukee.
“This event always has been geared towards learning the importance of prenatal and postnatal health care services,” Lampkin said. “My goal is to increase [attendees’] knowledge on a variety of different health topics,” she added.
In addition to information about prenatal and postpartum care, hearing and vision screenings and breast cancer screenings were available The event also offered training about SIDS and Shaken Baby Syndrome, and an opportunity to enroll in Next Door’s programs.
Parents received a tote bag with basic baby items on a first-come, first-served basis, courtesy of UnitedHealthcare. Children enjoyed face painting, refreshments, snacks and games.
Barry Schwartz, an adult education instructor at Next Door, said his main goal at the fair was to put a smile on children’s faces. “This is a fun event for all of us, so informing parents and playing with the kids is just great,” he said. “I’ve been doing this event for years now and it’s just as awesome every time.”
Quiana Howard, 37, brought her 4-year-old son, Davion Curlee, to enroll him for another year of preschool at Next Door. “I love this place; they provide a lot for my son and the resources they have help out all the families that come here,” she said.
“Mama knows best, she always takes care of me,” Davion interjected.
Howard said she got information about breast cancer screening at the health fair, and plans to be tested soon. “As a woman gets older, she becomes more likely to develop breast cancer so I’m going to utilize the screenings when I can.”
Added Lampkin, “Our program is here to support families … and help build their skills on becoming the best parents they can be.”