Roughly 200 Coquina elementary students and their families benefitted from a Back to School Fun Day event on Saturday, August 1, thanks to services provided by UCF nursing students and a local church.
Participants of the event held at Coquina Elementary School in Titusville received free health screenings, haircuts, school supplies, clothing and lunch. Parents were also offered job search assistance and job counseling.
UCF’s nursing students performed a wide variety of health screenings such as height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) measurements; vision, blood pressure and scoliosis checks; and nutrition, dental and heart health education. Krisann Draves, a UCF nursing instructor, supervised the group.
As a result of these valuable screenings, some families learned their child may have a vision problem. When left undetected, vision problems can lead to learning difficulties. As a certified pediatric nurse practitioner, Draves was able to refer these children and their families to a primary care pediatric physician in the area for follow-up vision exams.
Jennifer Taylor, director of accepting ministries at the Indian River City United Methodist Church, is thankful for UCF’s efforts. “It’s events like these that help raise the health and morale of a community. For many of the participants, this may be their only opportunity this year to receive these basic health services. We are pleased with the event’s success and couldn’t have done it without the help of UCF’s nursing students.”
UCF’s nursing students are no stranger to community outreach. As part of their nursing curricula, they are assigned to a Community Nursing Coalition where they provide community and public health nursing services to 16 communities across five counties. Since these courses aren’t offered during the summer in Brevard County, the group’s Student Nurses Association Chapter decided to participate as one of their many community service projects.
“I’m always so impressed with the group’s drive to go above and beyond what is expected of them,” explains Draves, also their SNA chapter advisor. “They volunteered their time on a Saturday the week before final exams because they are so passionate about wellness and helping those in need, especially children.”
“Making a difference in our community is what it’s all about and I’ll become a better nurse because of it,” says Cocoa nursing student Jennifer Watts who serves as the chapter’s vice president. “Providing these health screenings out in the community is essential, especially when we can identify a potential health problem early.”
“It was nice for the families and our students to benefit from the experience,” added Draves.
Contributing Writers: Heather Robbins and Carolyn Petagno