first day of school

Brunswick Police major Greg Post fist bumps a student while Melinda Ennis-Roughton, executive director of Family Connection Glynn County holds a welcome back sign as students return to school at Goodyear Elementary Thursday morning.

For the nearly 25 percent of Glynn County residents who are uninsured, preventative health care can often be challenging to receive.

Family Connection Glynn County will bring local health resources together this weekend for the third annual Holiday Health Fair. Free health services will be provided, including flu shots, screenings for diabetes and blood pressure, breast exams and a mobile mammogram unit.

The event will take place at Risley Annex, located at 2900 Albany St. in Brunswick, on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Part of this is to promote healthy lifestyles and then also provide people with the opportunity to get a prescreening for things like diabetes or breast cancer, to prevent those diseases,” said Melinda Ennis-Roughton, executive director of Family Connection Glynn County.

WellCare will provide health services, and Coastal Community Health Services and the Glynn County Health Department are taking part in the event.

“We’re going to have free toothpaste and toothbrushes for the kids, to make sure they’re taking care of their dental care,” Ennis-Roughton said.

The family-friendly event will also offer numerous early education resources, including a table where parents can sign their students up for the pre-K lottery for Glynn County Schools. The waiting list opened Dec. 3 for prekindergarten students for the 2019-2020 school year.

Family Connection is one of several local organizations that works year-round to promote early eduction opportunities, often emphasizing that early education can set students on a path for success throughout the rest of their time in school.

“For a lot of people, in particular in the low-income community, there’s not as much awareness about pre-K and the importance of early education,” Ennis-Roughton said. “Of course, pre-K is free. We’re going to have pre-K signups.”

Representatives from Head Start, a federally-subsidized preschool program, will also be on hand to sign up students.

There will also be fun activities for children at the fair. They’ll be able to make Christmas trees and take photos in a Kid’s Zone set up by Quilla Academy, a leading child care service in Glynn County. Santa Claus will also be in attendance. A pre-K choir will be singing holiday songs, and prizes, including a child’s bicycle, will be raffled off.

Other local groups, including the Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster (VOAD) of Coastal Georgia and Women’s Voices of Glynn County, will set up tables to share information about the work the groups do in the community.

More than 20 nonprofits will be taking part in the health fair.

“One of the reasons we do this is about a quarter of the population in Glynn County is uninsured. That’s about 24 to 25 percent — that number fluctuates a little bit between studies,” Ennis-Roughton said. “That means that people are not getting preventative health care, like flu shots and breast exams — health screenings that would prevent illness. It’s much easier to prevent an illness than to develop it and try to treat it.”

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