A three-day Health Expo for children on St. Maarten started on Friday at the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) School in Cole Bay, and ended on Sunday with a bike-a-thon.
“The initiative, themed “Healthy Me” attracted youngsters and their parents for free medical screenings and activities – [all] in an effort to bring awareness to obesity, poor nutrition, and other juvenile health problems,” said Yvette Dupuis, the Children’s Ministries Coordinator for the churches on the island. She also noted that the services, offered in 2018, were expanded to include attention to drug awareness and cooking demonstrations for the children. Wellness enrichment segments and healthy-living presentations, coordinated by the SDA school teachers and volunteers, were also provided along with development-related seminars and healthy meals demonstrations.
For the third consecutive, year, the American University of the Caribbean’s medical team provided support for the event by offering general medical and dental checks for all participants. “While the professional[s] [were] happy and excited to be there, and hailed it a success, we want to do more. The main message sought to remind children that God wants everyone to enjoy a long and healthy life,” expressed Yvette Dupuis. She added that the event was well supported and many community and church members expressed their gratitude for the church’s initiative and requested that the Expo be held on a regular basis.
“I think it’s great for the community,” said Michelle Richardson, one of the program coordinators. “It’s a way of letting them know that, as a church, we’re not only interested in their spiritual development, but the church caters to the whole person. We take care of their social, physical and spiritual needs.”
Annually, since 2015, the Children’s Ministries Council of St. Maarten has been ministering to scores of children on the island. Six of the SDA congregations, on the island, united their efforts for the Children’s Health Expo. The idea of the Expo stemmed from the SDA Church’s desire to share resources with the community. The health team, headed by Nurse Sheryl Carty together with Yvette Dupuis and her volunteers, planned the Expo as a primary means of meeting the health needs of the community and sharing much-needed health information. The program is a part of the Church’s mission to fulfil Christ’s mandate of spreading the gospel to this generation, through service in the community.