The 12th Annual Health & Family Festival continues to give health checks, school supplies and lots of fun for the family.
By Brian W. Carter
Sentinel Staff Writer
It’s August and that means it’s time for kids to get geared up and ready to hit the books. As back-to-school season rolls in, Mothers In Action (MIA) is rollin’ out with the 12th Annual Health & Family Festival: Back to School. Held at the L.A. Sports Arena, the annual event will take place on September 4, 10am-3pm.
MIA created the Health & Family Festival along with 25th State Senator, then Assemblyman Rod Wright. “We have so many kids without access to healthcare or enough money for supplies,” said Wright. “That need is still there and probably even more necessary now than it was when we started it.”
Event vendors will be giving out free school supplies and medical exams to children five to 15. The festival will feature a number of booths including health screenings, dental hygiene, free immunizations, uniforms and haircuts at the festival. Many children don’t perform well in school due to poor health conditions and lack of healthcare. The annual fair is a direct response to a community in need.
“Everybody’s doing back to school this year,” said Brenda Marsh-Mitchell, Founder and President of Mothers in Action, “But everybody doesn’t understand-we’ve been doing it for a long time. We may not do it the traditional way because we understand that kids fail because they can’t see, because they can’t eat, because they can’t hear, so we try to provide those services-and the back to school supplies just goes with the territory.”
This year promises to be one of the biggest back-to-school giveaways the country has ever seen. In past years, the festival has drawn well over 60,000 participants and is expecting to have even more this year. Many schools attended the festival in droves to receive information on healthcare, school supplies and afternoon of fun.
The festival is being sponsored by numerous organizations including: The Bakewell Family Foundation, the Brotherhood Crusade, Radio Free KJLH, 7-Eleven, Weingart Center, Digital Alliance and many more. There will also be a host of celebrities present this year lending their support to the festival.
“We’re so glad to have Judge Mablean’s Ephriam Foundation, Digital Alliance, Brotherhood Crusade, who actually started us and supported us, all our new sponsors and we’re super happy to have Derek Strong and Strong Racing Team,” said Marsh-Mitchell.
“We thank the Mayor for his support, Curren Price, Isadore Hall, Jan Perry, Bernard Parks, Herb Wesson-we thank them all and most of all, we thank Danny Bakewell Sr. and the Bakewell Family.”
“If we do not make sure our children have the necessary tools they need for school, then we are not living up to our responsibilities as parents, care givers and role models,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “Mothers in Action recognizes these needs and each year they do their part to ensure our kids are equipped for success during the school year. Their support is integral to this community and I applaud their efforts today and throughout the year.”
Mothers in Action is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization founded by the late Johnnie Tillman, Lillian Mobley, Nola Carter, Gwen Green, Mary Henry, Danny J. Bakewell Sr. and Brenda Marsh-Mitchell. MIA is a result of the 1992 civil unrest and aims to bring the community together. Made up of mothers, they aim to help the youth, elderly and less fortunate residents of the community.