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Family and friends are invited to attend this year’s Back-To-School Health & Family Festival as it continues to inform, educate and prepare youth for a productive year in school.
The mother of all back-to-school events continues to help prepare Los Angeles youth on multiple levels before school begins.
It’s August, so that means it’s time to get ready for Mothers In Action‘s (MIA) 15th Back-To-School Annual Health & Family Festival (BSHFF) at the L.A. Coliseum Saturday, August 24 from 10am-3pm. For 15 years, the event has been at the forefront of making sure L.A. youth are prepared for the school year.
The BSHFF was the brainchild of MIA and 35th State Senator, then Assemblyman, Rod Wright. It was created for the youth in the communities of South Los Angeles. Many children often return to school with a myriad of needs that have gone unmet. The BSHFF exists to meet those needs and make sure youth have tools and health to meet their success.
The co-chairs for this year’s BSHFF include Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson, Councilmember Bernard Parks, Councilmember Curren Price, assemblymembers Isadore Hall and Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Wright, Co-Chair Fabian Wesson, Interim General Manager of the City of Los Angeles’ Economic Development Department Jan Perry, Co-founder Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. and MIA President Brenda Marsh-Mitchell.
“We’re helping young students to be good, law-abiding, healthy, knowledgeable citizens by having back-to-school,” said Marsh-Mitchell. Senator Wright has said about BSHFF and what it offers, “that [the] need is still there and probably even more necessary now than it was when we started it."
Billed as the biggest back-to-school giveaway in Los Angeles, the festival has drawn well over 60,000 participants and is expected to bring many more this year. The BSHFF serves youth ages 5-15 with a host of sponsors, vendors and services. Many schools attend the festival for information on healthcare, school supplies and entertainment.
Health issues have been a major concern in recent years with epidemics such as pertussis a.k.a. Whooping Cough affecting many children in the L.A. school district. It has been shown that bad health can be a huge deficit to youth in school. Children with undiagnosed problems of the eye and ears can limit their comprehension and learning abilities. Being constantly absent in class due to poor health conditions can also set a child back in school.
“We have back-to-school not so much to giveaway backpacks and supplies,” said Mitchell. “The kids fail because they can’t see, hear, they have diabetes, they don’t have the correct clothes, they don’t feel proper going to school.
“They fail because they’re latchkey kids and their parents don’t know that there is somebody out there who can help them.
“We try to provide something comprehensive for everybody in the family to be healthy.”
The festival features free school supplies and medical exams along with a number of booths including health screenings, dental hygiene, free immunizations, uniforms, haircuts and LAUSD mandatory pertussis vaccine, a.k.a. Whooping Cough.
Many of the booths and supplies have been sponsored and given by organizations such as the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Hubert H. Humphrey Comprehensive Health Center, which has been participating at the BSHFF for the past 14 years, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Explorer One Ambulance and Medical Services.
Each event makes sure youth receive educational necessities such as notebooks, backpacks, pencils and flash drives. The clinical booths at BSHFF educate youth and families on the importance of health and wellness. Many have received blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol screenings. There will also be free immunizations, which are required throughout LAUSD, dental and nutrition education.
The Back-To-School Health & Family Festival will feature sponsors and vendors by numerous organizations including: The Los Angeles Sentinel, L.A. Watts Times, The Bakewell Family Foundation, the Brotherhood Crusade, One United Bank, The Cochran Firm Los Angeles, One Christ Church, Pava World, Southern California Gas Company and Sempra Energy.
Assemblymember Isador Hall has stated about BSHFF, “I applaud the Brotherhood Crusade, Mothers In Action and especially, Brenda Marsh-Mitchell for continuing to provide, year after year, the tremendous uplift that is delivered to our children.
“It is a great opportunity for children to return to school fully equipped for the school year.”
Immunization records are critical, so please remember to bring them with you to the festival.
Mothers in Action is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization founded by the late Johnnie Tillman, Lillian Mobley, Nola Carter, Gwen Green, Mary Henry, Danny J. Bakewell Sr. and Brenda Marsh-Mitchell. MIA is a result of the 1992 civil unrest and aims to bring the community together. Made up of mothers, they aim to help the youth, elderly and less fortunate residents of the community.