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Teacher: Carlos Olivo who teaches at Holy Cross Lutheran School in Dallas, TX. Carlos Olivo can be contacted at carloslindakay@aol.com.

Name of Best Practice: Presenting a Health Fair at Your School

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To educate our children and their parents about the importance and benefits of good health, physical activity and safety practices.

Suggested Grade Level: K-12

Materials Needed: Tables, chairs, VCRs/TVs, and a location to hold your fair.

Presenting a Health Fair at Your School

Presenting a Health Fair at you school:

The following pre-event ideas will assist you in coordinating a successful event.

1) Start preparing for the event well in advance. Some companies have such a complex infrastructure that it could be weeks, if not months, before they receive your request. Decide who will be the primary contact person for this event.

2) Get approval of a date, times, and location from your principal, in advance, so that you can relay this to prospective vendors.

3) Know how many total students will be participating, what grades will be involved, and the approximate age groups of the kids in each grade. Vendors may have age appropriate materials they may want to send or bring and knowing this, in advance, will help.

4) Consider students with allergies when contacting vendors. Some vendors will be glad to bring dogs and cats to the fair, but if you have students with health issues, unless that portion of the event can be held outside, this might not be a good choice.

5) Depending on school policies, get approval prior to the event, of any food items that vendors may want to bring. Again this is to prevent any allergy issues. This is where knowing exactly what the vendor plans to do is important.

6) Develop a plan for how you want to run the event. We had the vendors in the gym and had teachers bring classes in one at a time, by grade level. The more detailed your plan the more successful your event will be. Also vendors will want to know how you plan to conduct the Health Fair so that they may adapt their presentations accordingly. Holding the event on a weekday will increase the number of children participating in the event. Make the event open to parents and seek parental assistance to help you run the event.

7) Resources and Contacts: You would be amazed at the number of resources that are available on the internet. I made about 90% of my contacts through folks that I found on internet sites. Begin with City and State organizations: Poison Control, local hospitals, fire departments, police departments, professional medical organizations i.e.- American Medical Association, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Red Cross, local health and fitness clubs, local dental colleges, mental health resources, and city health department. Always remember that there may be parents that are in the medical field that might be willing to come and be vendors at the event.

8) Once I found out how many vendors were coming I set up tables and chairs inside the gym (Note: Ask the vendors if they will need TV's and VCR's so that you can account for those when you set things up). I labeled each table with the name of the vendor.

9) I made a diagram/map of the gym and labeled where vendors were to setup their displays and the exits (The vendors were then handed these diagrams/maps and this made it easy for them to set up and also let them know what other vendors had come to the event). Reminder - Giving a copy of this diagram/map to your office staff will also assist them with informing vendors where they need to setup.

10) The children really enjoyed collecting the free samples from the vendors. To make this easy for the teachers I made a bag for each student with their names on them. I gave the teachers the bags in advance so that would be one less task to worry about the day of the event. If you have a large school this would be a great job for room parents. Contact your Parent-Teacher Organization for additional help.

11) There may be organizations which might only be able to send materials. For these I used parents to help pass out materials to the kids.

12) Create a file with all the vendor information. You may also have vendors that might not be able to attend this year but maybe the next time. Keep their information for future reference.

THE DAY OF THE EVENT::

1) Arrive early to ensure someone is there to greet the vendors as they arrive.

2) For safety and security reasons notify school office staff, in writing, of all the vendors that will be arriving at the school. Please ensure you have the vendors name so that office staff can help identify these folks as approved visitors.

3) Have a signup sheet for the vendors so they could put all their contact information. This gave me all the addresses for thank you letters and I also made one for the parent helpers for the same reason.

AFTER THE EVENT:

Write Thank You letters to the vendors. You might be using them again the following year so give them a good impression of your school. You might even assign a class a specific vendor to send thank you letters to, this makes the process a lot easier.

Below is a copy of the request letter I mailed and e-mailed to possible vendors:

I am a teacher at Holy Cross Lutheran School in Dallas, Texas. I am trying to put together a Student Health Fair scheduled for October 14 from 9-11 a.m. This is the first time our school has attempted anything like this. We have approximately 120 students in grades K-6. Would there be anyone we can talk to about possibly coming just for the two hour time slot, if that's not possible, could anything be sent to us to setup in one of our booths? Each student group would be brought in by grade level and allowed 15-20 minutes to survey and ask questions. Our current vendors include the Dallas Fire Department, Poison Control, American Diabetes Association, American Red Cross, and a local Pediatrician. Any help would be appreciated and tahnk you for your time.

Include contact information here...

Variations:

Physical Education Program Activities can be showcased by Physical Education students to integrate with the health concepts at the tables. This helps develop student ownership and participation.

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Posted on PEC: 1/4/2004 and has received 73 votes.

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