Health fair addresses community needs
April 19, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Prize numbers being called out, celebration music over the loud speakers, and an assortment of balloons anchored by chairs set the stage for a Health and Wellness Fair hosted by the Exceptional Family Member Program and Army Community Services Friday at the Solomon Center.
The Exceptional Family Member Program helps families with special needs receive care specific to the developmental, age or mental stability issues that one or more of the family members may have. Soldiers who have special needs family members are required to attend training and seminars held by the Exceptional Family Member Program.
The idea for an EFMP health fair was suggested by a parent of a special needs child a few years ago. More than 70 organizations attended the fair in an effort to provide information to military families that will be beneficial to the long term care of their family member.
"As Soldiers and Families (move) from place to place, they are able to pull various information from the web, but nothing is like speaking with a representative face to face," said Cheryl Jackson, Exceptional Family Member Program manager. "We also have services that give assistance and information for the elderly, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder."
The event also featured a number of other services beneficial to all families, like the American Red Cross, Army Public Health Nursing and TRICARE.
"Our goal is to give people information to help empower them to make healthy lifestyle (choices)," Jackson said.
Karissa and husband David Cockrell were among the vendors in attendance. The Cockrells are founders of a non-profit organization that focuses on higher-functioning children with autism called Camp T.A.L.K (Teaching Advocacy and Life Skills to Kids). Karissa, the camp director, works along with many other volunteers, some of whom have children with special needs.
"We just want our kids to be kids," Karissa said.
Karissa said she brought her organization to the Fort Jackson event in hopes of spreading the word to other families about what they offer children with autism. She said she ended up meeting new people and learning about other organizations that help special needs children as well.
For more resources on the organization in attendance, visit the Fort Jackson EFMP website at www.fortjacksonmwr.com/acs_exp/.