How do you encourage kids to participate in a health screening on one of the hottest days of the summer? You make it fun!
The Michigan Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs is a 2014 Health Fund grantee, and our partnership on the Healthy Michigan Today program has allowed the Alliance to bring health screenings to Boys and Girls Club members throughout the state. Their mobile medical team, staffed by Henry Ford Health System, arrives at each club on the “Big Bus”, and conducts onsite screenings for heart health, concussions, diabetes, vision, and immunizations, and connects children to services through the local health system.
So where does the fun come in? The health screenings are part of a “Be Fit” semi-annual health fair sponsored by each local Boys and Girls Club. We had the pleasure of participating in this month’s Be Fit Festival at the Boys and Girls Club of Flint and, although the temperature climbed above 90 degrees, the scene on Averill Avenue was lively. Children of all ages participated in hula hoop contests, snacked on healthy food, ran through an inflatable obstacle course, laughed and socialized with one of the many community partners on the scene, and—most fun of all—dunked their favorite Boys and Girls Club team member into the dunk tank!
Tauzzari Robinson, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Flint, told us that the Healthy Michigan Today program has fundamentally changed their ability to serve their members and their families with respect to health and wellness. It’s one thing to encourage healthy lifestyles, but this program takes it to a new level by screening young people for potential health issues and providing them with the resources to take action when necessary.
Based on the enthusiasm we witnessed and the kids’ willingness to see the medical team on the Big Bus, we’d say Tauzzari and his team created the right balance of fun and health for Flint children.
This fall, we’ll update you on the statewide impact of the Health Michigan Today program. Stay tuned to the blog and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for dispatches from more of our grantees!