Educators gathered at Lewis Frasier Middle School on Thursday to learn how to better their health during the first-ever Liberty County BoE Employees Health Fair.
The Liberty County School System gave students the day off from school and teachers the opportunity to learn about how to better take care of their health. The event was sponsored by the Liberty Regional Medical Center and Liberty County Health Department to allow teachers throughout the county to receive free health screenings, informative literature and fun classes to break up the professional-learning work day.
“I don’t think people really realize how vital it is to have healthy teachers in the classrooms,” Lewis Frasier school nurse Peggy Rayman said. “If it goes well, hopefully it (the fair) will be an annual thing.”
Rayman said the goals of the fair included better visibility of all the health and wellness resources in Liberty County, increased personal health awareness of employees, along with motivating employees to make positive health behavior changes.
The blood donation mobile also waited out front to allow educators to donate blood before or after the event. Free HIV testing and colorectal screenings were offered to staff members who were interested.
“I enjoy this because I had some tests done that I would have never thought of doing,” BoE office manager Gwen Stewart said. Stewart attended with fellow BoE office co-worker Shari Phillips.
“People can get out here and there’s a lot of information to be given out and they (the vendors) make you feel comfortable,” Phillips said. “Your health is very important. If you’re no good to yourself, you’re no good to the young ones.”
LCSS employees received canvas totes to load up with information on breast cancer, freebies like Frisbees and pens and healthy snacks like bananas, oranges, apples and juice.
More than 31 vendors from around the county set up tables to talk with educators and cover various health topics, including quitting smoking, diabetes health and breast-cancer awareness.
Smaller breakout class sessions also were offered on tai chi techniques, tobacco cessation, CPR, diabetes and food safety to give teachers a more personalized focus on specific topics.
Stephanie Fox, the Liberty County school nutrition record-keeper, said she was impressed with the turnout for the event. Fox offered nutritional information to teachers along with fruits and juice as healthy snacks.
“I think it’s really good because we bring all the different organizations to one location, and it’s a one stop shop for everyone,” Fox said. “If we’re not doing it for ourselves, how can we get our future leaders of America to do the same thing? We want to set them (the students) up for success.”
Because of the high level of interest in the event, Principal Jermaine Williams said he thinks it will be back again next year. Williams thanked the community and teachers within the school for their help with organizing the event.
“This is fantastic. Healthy teachers, healthy students. If your teachers are healthy, your instruction is better,” Williams said. “This has been fantastic.”
Lewis Frasier eighth-grade teacher Jason Stickler helped to organize details with the school nurse to be able to have the event in the school cafeteria, but he said it took more than the efforts of the school to make it happen.
“This has been a great collaboration with the community. This was a team of people wanting to do something for teachers,” Stickler said. “We extend many thanks to the community.”