Family Health Center’s 17th Annual Back To School Bash set for Aug. 11

Editor's note: This story is part of Southwest Michigan Second Wave's On the Ground Kalamazoo series.

Don’t let the balloons and bouncy-house fool you, the Family Health Center’s annual Back To School Bash has always been about making sure youngsters are really ready to learn.
“The Bash offers a fun wrap-up to summer break,” explains Denise Crawford, president and chief executive officer of the Family Health Center. But it is focused on helping young people start the school year healthy — a need that’s top of mind for families following the global pandemic.
Crawford says the bash offers fun, food, and games “while making sure families know their kids are healthy, immunized, and ready to return to school.”
For the 17th year, Family Health Center will work with its community partners to host the Back To School Bash from noon to 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11, at the Health Center’s 117 W. Paterson St. location.
Scenes from last year's Back to School Bash.Family Health Center is a nonprofit, federally qualified health center that provides quality care to an estimated 50,000 historically underserved patients.
Completed well-child checks for children youngsters ages 3-12 and making sure their immunizations are up-to-date will be required for all children who attend the Bash. Children will receive their well-child exams and then be able to enjoy the bash.
Well-child checks can be completed before the event or on the day of the event. Interested families may pre-register their children ahead of time by calling 269-488-0805. 
FHC is offering a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the event for eligible individuals of any age. But it explains that the COVID-19 vaccination isn’t required for students to return to school. 
Attractions at the event will include games, refreshments, free backpacks loaded with school supplies, and self-care kits. There will also be information booths on health awareness and community support services.
Scenes from last year's Back to School Bash.According to Crawford, the bash draws about 1,500 children and their families from the greater Kalamazoo area, many from under-resourced families.
“The Family Health Center makes sure kids receive well-child services including immunizations,” Crawford says. “This ensures that those students start school healthy, ready to learn, and able to stay in school.”

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Al Jones is a freelance writer who has worked for many years as a reporter, editor, and columnist. He is the Project Editor for On the Ground Kalamazoo.