REACH HEALTH FAIR A GREAT SUCCESS!
The REACH Project, a non-profit community development organization based in College Station, TX, hosted a Health Fair at Texas A&M’s Leach Teaching Gardens on Saturday, September 28, 2019. The Health Fair was the brainchild of Aggie alum, Max Gerall who saw a need for holistic preventative health care for the University’s uninsured 3rd party contract employees, while creating an opportunity to provide TAMU students with experimental learning outside the classroom. It offered students a chance to give back to those contract employees who deliver critical services to faculty and students every day in our community. “The Health Fair encouraged individuals from across the Universities community to come together and interact in new, mutually beneficial ways,” stated Gerall. The event was hosted by the REACH Project in partnership with the Brazos County Health District, Brazos Valley United Way, American Alliance Health Services, Brazos Valley Food Bank, Ronin Farm & Restaurant, and the Brazos Interfaith Immigration Network. It was fully staff by faculty and student volunteers from the Texas A&M Health Science Center‘s School of Public Health (17 students, Rangel School of Pharmacy (15 students), and College of Nursing (13 student), as well as the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (15 students), and student volunteers from the College of Architecture, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and the Department of Nutrition and Food Science. The turnout Saturday exceeded everyone’s expectations. “We anticipated needing 20-25 student volunteers (and supervising faculty) to serve 50 families. When the word got out that we were seeking University volunteers, 63 students signed on. And that was fortunate because more than 100 employees and their families attended the Fair.” Services included Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, and Blood Glucose testing, AIC and Pre cancer screens, as well as wellness and nutrition education. Three on-campus employees were connected with local providers because until they were tested at the Fair, they did not know they had diabetes. One employee said, “We could not afford the insurance last year or this year; this is the first time any of us have seen a doctor since.” The most popular station according to both event attendees and volunteers was Station 4 where volunteers built 175- piece first aid kits, which were distributed to attendees. All the necessary materials were purchased thanks to a grant from the United Way of Brazos Valley which enabled us to hand out 140 First Aid kits. The Health Fair is one of several REACH Project initiatives intended to weave together otherwise disenfranchised members of the Aggie community to create a richer and enhanced quality of life for everyone. “I believe we are succeeding, when I hear the feedback,” said Gerall. One student expressed what many others felt; “What started out as volunteering for a class on Saturday ended up connecting me with the REACH Project; a budding nonprofit whose dream of serving the Bryan/College Station area through education and partnerships with grad students to provide healthcare, honestly left me reeling with pride to see that desire to love people in this way. Super excited to see the Aggie core values being lived out so tangibly in this city.” The 3 party contract employees and their families’ responses were also very positive. “This was a great event and I cannot wait to tell the girls in Crew Y about this!” “It’s been so hard without insurance. Thanks REACH.” “Thank you so much for this great event, my kids and I had a great time! We hope that you do it again!” Gerall said, “as long as our partners support our effort, REACH will continue to bring its programs to the community.”
For more information on REACH: AgsREACH.org or Facebook.com/AgsREACH