Wellness Fair '98, presented by the Pacific Union College Nursing Department, will be at Vintage High School in Napa on March 6.
The program is geared towards educating students on the importance of health issues. Seven major booths, scattered throughout the Vintage High gymnasium, offer information on various topics such as self defense, sexually transmitted diseases, and first aid. All physical education and health classes come to the gym, where they are given cards that are to be stamped at each booth. After a certain number, students are allowed to turn in their cards for a door prize drawing. Over 800 students usually end up attending.
"Students love the Wellness Fair," says Allison Saether, who is the school nurse at Vintage High. "They have a background knowledge of health issues through their required health classes, but the fair gives them an opportunity to be actively involved in the learning process."
The community outreach seminar is part of the service learning component for a class in PUC's Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program called Health Education Promotion and Self Care. The fair was actually initiated four years ago by a group of students who were required to come up with a community service project for a different class. Six or seven students decided to hold a health fair at St. Helena High School. The following year, the nursing department decided to include a health fair in its new curriculum. Since then, they have held 4 seminars in various schools all over the valley.
"We're really concerned with the health of our community, and we have to start with our young people," says Sharon Millard, PUC faculty coordinator. "There are many health risks that our young people are subjected to; so if we can come up with creative ways of connecting with our young people, then we're hoping that the health of the community that we are living in will be improved."
Millard hopes that the Wellness Fair will continue to be an annual event, but finding enough funds for the project is becoming more difficult each year. Students solicit for support from the community; and while national health associations provide much of the teaching material, a portion of the expenses that cannot be covered by the PUC nursing department come out of the students' own pockets. Although there have been donations in the past, the demand is beginning to exceed the supply. Millard would like to branch out in the Napa Valley to other communities that might benefit from the program. In the mean time Vintage High School has been so pleased with the outcome of the fairs, they have requested that the department return every 2 years.
"This way we can be sure to have educated at least 90% of all the students with information that they may not acquire otherwise," says Saether. "I think that if we all work together as a community we can come up with a ecreative way to raise the funds for the fair. It is too important a resource to discontinue."