Promise Community Health Center shattered another record with 226 students being provided required health screenings during its eighth annual Back-to-School Block Party on Wednesday, Aug. 9.
That was 42 more than the 184 children served in 2016 and 100 more than the total of 126 in 2015.
The children, their families and community members also enjoyed free food and interactive activities offered by more than a dozen community organizations in the back alley and parking lot behind Promise’s building for the block party.
“We’re thrilled that so many families found this to be a valuable service again this year to get their children adequately prepared for school,” said Derrick Vander Waal, public relations officer for Promise.
“Not only did students get required screening for school, but everyone had a great time at the block party.”
The 226 students each received at least one of the four health services offered – with many of them receiving multiple services.
A breakdown of the services:
130 students – 20 more than last year – received low-cost school and sports physicals.
89 students – nine more than last year – received free immunizations.
65 students received free dental screens.
53 students received free vision screens.
The event was extended by one hour this year to better facilitate its increasing popularity.
“We served more students this year, but an improved flow plan allowed people to navigate through the building for the services that they needed with much shorter wait times than in past years,” Vander Waal said.
Promise was appreciative of the many area organizations that participated with various activities during the five-hour event: Community Health Partners, Season Center for Behavioral Health, Iowa State University’s Juntos, Sioux Center Public Library, All Kids Can, Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Family Crisis Centers of Northwest Iowa, We Rock the Spectrum, UnitedHealthcare and Stepping Stones Preschool.
KSOU Radio served a free hot dog meal and played music. Culver’s served free lemon ice treats. Cinema 5 Theatres provided free popcorn.
“The wonderful, interactive activities and great food truly made this event a great block party,” Vander Waal said. “We were so thankful for the participation of so many organizations who gave of their time and resources.”
In addition, Sioux Center Health did car-seat safety checks – making adjustments to ensure the seats were safely secured in vehicles and replacing car seats no longer in good condition with new ones. In total, 32 car seats were checked, and 18 new ones were issued and installed.
Sioux Center Kiwanis donated $500 to Promise for the purchase of car seats at the event.
“We were also impressed with the number of people that came to ask questions,” said Marcia Van Voorst of Sioux Center Health. “Thank you for giving us this opportunity to serve our community.”
Several Dordt College volleyball players volunteered their time to do face-painting, sidewalk chalk and bubbles with the children.
Promise gave away more than 200 drawstring bags with school and health supplies to students, thanks in large part to a $500 grant from the Walmart Foundation. Delta Dental also donated toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss for the bags.
Area political officials visited and toured Promise during the block party: Iowa Rep. Skyler Wheeler of Orange City and Jerry Self, regional director from the Sioux City office of U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst.
“Thank you to all who came to our block party,” Vander Waal said. “We hope to see you all again next year at an even bigger and better event.”
TO SEE PICTURES:
To get a better feel for what the event was like, check out the many photos on multiple posts on Promise’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PromiseCHC. One post shows the block party activities, and another post shows the health screenings.