School Counselor Laura Murray said the health fair was a direct reaction to a Healthy Schools review. According to the team, Blythe-Bower needed to work on health promotion for staff. The decision was made to host a health fair open to everyone from the students to the residents of the Blythe-Bower community.
Doors open for the health and safety expo at 8 a.m. The elementary school’s theater will be filled to the brim with community nonprofits and agencies.
According to Murray, the goal of the expo is to highlight resources available in the community for holistic health.
Nonprofits invited to participate include, but are not limited to The Caring Place; The Refuge; Habitat for Humanity; and Bradley Initiative for Church and Community. Health agencies like the Red Cross, BlueCare TN, We R CPR and Shriner’s Hospital plan to attend. Additional booths will include the Girl Scouts of America, WIC, Relative Caregiver Program, Smoothie King and Curves.
Murray said she wants community residents to be aware of the resources available. Some of the agencies with plans to set up a booth are routinely referred by the school counselor to Blythe-Bower families.
“We want to bring more parents in,” Murray said. “We want to help them see the school as a place not only where their child receives their education, but that we are here to help the whole family.”
The booths also provide an opportunity for staff to learn more about the local nonprofits, health programs, agencies and clubs.
“I would like our staff to become aware of these places to maybe volunteer, or maybe they have a family member who has a need as well,” Murray said. “We get a lot of community support at our school, and I would like to have our school support our community, too.”
She said volunteering allows individuals to see outside themselves.
Added Murray, “And we all have struggles and things we deal with, but when we look at the world around us and reach out, I think that can put everything back into perspective.”
A 24-day challenge prompted staff to make one healthy change in their lives in the weeks leading up to the expo.
One teacher decided to cut her coffee intake. She told Murray she realized how much extra condiments she was placing in the dark brew. Her class was informed of her decision. At the first mention of weakness, the students immediately reacted.
“No,” they responded when she mentioned her wish for more coffee. “No, you can’t do that.”
Staff directed their attention to a variety of healthy habits like drinking more water, exercising and finding 15 minutes of peace per day.
One teacher decided to have her students join in on the competition. She announced there would be a 24-day academic challenge. Students wrote down their goals for the duration of the challenge.
“I’ll make a 100 on my spelling tests,” wrote one youngster.
Another pledged to read one chapter from a chapter book every day.
Angel challenged herself to learn 12 new words while her peers promised to read from a book every day.
Murray said she is hoping for a good community, staff and student response to the health fair on Friday, Feb. 7. She also extended her thanks to Gail Benton from TENNderCARE for helping her with the project. Those with questions about the expo may call 423-634-1955.