Greenwood community prepares kids to go back to school

CLEARWATER -- The North Greenwood Community Coalition will conduct its 10th annual Back to School Health and Wellness Event from 8 a.m. to noon Aug. 2 for children in the Greenwood Community at the Ross Norton Recreation Complex, 1426 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.

“In these times of economic strife, we have to make our dwindling budget continue to work for the children in our community,” said Maurice Mickens, president of the coalition.

More than 20 local community organizations and churches will band together to make the event a success. Morton Plant’s Turley Family Health Center and the Willa Carson Health and Wellness Center are contributing health professionals to provide physicals, which will include taking blood pressure, height, weight, eye exams and dental check-ups. After the physicals are completed, backpacks filled with school supplies are provided. In addition, several vendors will provide information to the parents regarding the future educational needs of their children.

“We have a great core of over 100 volunteers who love to help children and they are the key to helping to make this event a success,” said Sherry Van Hootegem, an organizer for the event.

The Clearwater Police Department also will be helping with the morning’s activities.

“We are excited to be a part of this event,” said Police Chief Tony Holloway. “The organizers help kids start the school year off on the right foot.”

Mayor George Cretekos also is expected to attend the event, as he does annually. The mayor will be helping to check the height and weight of children as part of their physicals.

Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Since 2005, the North Greenwood Back to School Health and Wellness Event has served some 4,500 families, distributing more than 6,500 backpacks with school supplies for children as well as offering physicals, eye exams and dental check-ups. This event has become one of the largest of its kind in the North Pinellas County area.

For information, contact Maurice Mickens at (727) 643-3500 or Sherry Van Hootegem at (727) 543-4443.

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