A healthier Head Start program

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – The J.B. Martin Recreation Center held a health fair for families with head start children Friday.

The event aimed to help parents get ready to enter their children into the Head Start program.

Stephanie Jendrusik, the Head Start Health and Disability Manager, put together the event and drew attention from many local entities.

“Basically I put this together for head start families to help the transition of entry. We are required by day care licensing of Ohio and federal guidelines, that each child must have a physical to be in the program including a vision, hearing, lead screen.”

“A lot of times the families aren’t aware and aren’t doing this initially, so we wanted to set it all up in one location.” she continued.

Many stations and activities were set up as the youngsters ran about interacting with each other. All effort put in was donated which included the Belmont County Health Department doing lead screens, Easter Seals of Wheeling talking about sensory issues and different services they provide, PNC Bank for savings and other financial programs aimed for a child’s future, the OSU Extension Office offering nutritional information and healthy recipes. Southeast was also in attendance offering its services.

An appreciative Jendrusik noted the hard work of all head start staff whom she credits with putting the word out to many local peditricians, physicians, and dentists.

Dr. Russell Leewood M.D. was on hand for the event after the initial participating physician had to attend an unexpected engagement.

“A local physician that was to be here today had to attend another engagement, and Dr. Leewood’s office contacted us, and stepped right in offering to take part of it.”

The Head start also set up juice bars, smoothie bar, and games for a very hefty turnout for a first year event, which hopes to make it to the annual status in the future.

Bikes and other prizes were donated for raffles and drawings by local businesses looking to lend a hand.

“The hardest part was getting the families here, and everyone involved had a big part in this turnout. It started at 10 this morning, and hasn’t letup since.”

Muklewicz can be reached at mmuklewicz@timesleaderonline.com