Back to School Health Fair Offers Free Health Exams

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COLUMBIA - The Voluntary Action Center (VAC) hosted a back to school health fair Saturday and gave away school supplies and health exams to students entering grades K-12.

Parents and children went to Calvary Baptist Church to get pencils, erasers, book marks, and even haircuts at booths sponsored by various organizations in the community. Children could also get free vision, hearing and dental exams.

Dr. Michael Burks was at a booth representing the Central Missouri Physicians for Women. He said he enjoys getting out to events like the health fair because it gives him a chance to answer questions outside of the doctor's office.

"One of the two biggest complaints about physicians is we don't spend enough time with people, and we don't talk to people often enough or long enough to answer their questions," Burks said.

Burks said the primary goal for his booth is to promote prevention of sexual diseases.

Other booths provided information about healthy eating, mental health and violence prevention in schools.

VAC Executive Director Nick Foster said one of the best things about the event is it's a one-stop shop for kids to get prepared for school.

"They can have health screenings done. They can pick up school supplies. They can get a lot of information about other organizations in the community that might be helpful to them," Foster said.

If students visited every booth at the health fair, they got a free backpack at the end.

Foster said students need school supplies the most at the start of the school year, but VAC will have supplies in its office for as long as they last.