Miami Law will host the first annual Community Health and Education Fair on Saturday at Esther Mae Armbrister Park. The event is being put together by the Center for Ethics and Public Service and the Coconut Grove Ministerial Alliance.
Over the years, CEPS and local pastors have cultivated a relationship to research the cultural and social history of the West Grove, which was settled by Bahamian laborers more than 100 years ago. A part of CEPS's mission is to work with community leaders to bring much-needed resources and support to the area.
The idea for a health fair was conceived by Helen B. Bentley Family Health Center representatives who were looking to spread the word about affordable clinical services that are available to the local community. Powered with an idea and with ample support, fellows Viraj Patel, Margaret Kelsey and Eliot Folsom began planning the fair last year.
"I like the idea of the clinic getting involved in the community," said Kelsey, a third-year law student. She recognizes that CEPS has taken on an entire neighborhood as its client. It's one of the reasons, she said, that the project has been so fulfilling.
To make the event possible, the fellows had to develop partnerships with city officials and local not-for-profits to provide services and obtain permits. The day-long event will begin with a neighborhood cleanup. At the fair in the park, at 236 Grand Avenue, residents and visitors will be offered blood pressure and bone density tests, and information about basic nutrition. Some of the medical services will be provided free by the Helen B. Bentley Family Health Center.
"The fair is the next step in terms of letting the not-for-profits and churches speak for themselves and advertise what they offer to the community," Kelsey said.
Registration and breakfast will begin at 8:45 a.m., and the trash pick-up and beautification projects will start shortly afterward. The health fair will begin at 10 a.m.
"We're hoping," Kelsey said, "that by providing these services, residents not only get treatment, but can change the way they live and have a better quality of life."