BY JURRY TAALIB-DEEN
Journal Staff Writer
The minority health youth bullying forum held at Scott High School’s, Ben E. Williams Field House, 2400 Collingwood Blvd., tackled the importance of blood pressure screenings, dental care, cholesterol checks, and the typical topics related to individual health care.
This year’s health fair also highlighted two different and equally important topics; teen bullying, and ways to help prevent and decrease infant mortality.
To address such diverse topics, event sponsors had a host of professionals from doctors to nurses, media personalities, as well as IBF Lightweight Champion of the World, Robert Easter Jr., and R&B singer, Tracy “The Rarebreed” Haynes, speak to the kids, as well as adults.
Celeste Smith, Community and Minority Health Supervisor with the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, told The Toledo Journal, “The whole day is about empowering our community by exposing them to the multitude of resources that are underutilized.”
In regards to including bullying in the health fair, Mrs. Smith said, “If our kids aren’t safe and healthy, how can we expect them to grow up and be healthy and productive adults in the society.”
During the forum on bullying, which took place in the cafeteria, Alisha Smith, executive director of the City of Toledo’s Youth Commission, made the forum interactive by going around to the students, and adults present, and getting their feedback on the topic, as well as how to solve it.
Dr. Carnel Smith, principal at Scott High School, informed those present that, with the advent of social media, much of the bullying occurs outside of school, and after hours, online, and by the time it materializes in school, it had been occurring for quite some time.
He added that he and the staff at the school take the topic very seriously. They even have a “bullying form” that the victim can fill out, and not only list the accused bully, but name those who instigated the situation.
“Once we get all parties involved in the incident, we find, in many cases, that the accused, as well as the victim, have both been involved in inappropriate behavior,” Dr. Smith said.
Talon Sweeny, a Rogers High School student, said “This forum is really good. It shows that the adults are actually listening to us, and trying to resolve the problem.”
Talon also said he has experienced bullying, but the administration at Rogers did a good job at resolving the problem.
Afterwards, there was breakout sessions held, one of which was hosted by Dr. Ronald Charles, vice president of Medical Affairs for Buckeye Health Plan, one of the sponsors of the event. Dr. Charles would continue the topic of bullying, as well as talk to students and their parents about taking the proper preparations to get enrolled into college.
Tisha Lee, local media personality, headed up the baby shower portion for expecting mothers, as well as focusing on ways to prevent infant mortality. Her portion of the fair focused on ways to make pregnancy, as well as after pregnancy easier. In addition, car seats, gift baskets, and other mom and baby items were raffled off. Even the guests of the expecting moms had a chance to win free tickets to R&B singers, Babyface, or Gladys Knight, as well as receive tickets to local comedy shows.
Also, a nurse and doctor addressed the women about ways to make their pregnancy easier, as well as administering methods that would help with the care of the baby, and mother.
Ms. Lee told The Toledo Journal that, it was the first time they hosted such an event, but being that infant mortality was on the rise, they wanted to tackle the issue head on. She said they would be hosting another event during the month of May.