Raising seven children doesn’t leave Christie Brittian much time for herself.
But with five of her children in tow, the 35-year-old mother found the opportunity to get in her yearly check-up Saturday at the UNC Health Careers Club’s eighth annual Health on the Block community health fair at the Hargraves Community Center.
Featuring 18 local vendors like Walgreens and the Cornucopia Cancer Support Center, the fair provided free blood pressure testing, diabetes assessments and tobacco screenings.
“It’s just a great way to get information on what services are available and just gain awareness,” said Brittian, who also attended the fair last year. “Awareness is key because you learn about so many different programs and things you can do to take care of yourself and your kids.”
Brittian, who is studying to be a certified medical assistant at Durham Technical Community College, said she also enjoys the event because it offers free face painting, crafts and balloon animals for her children to enjoy.
Health Careers Club President Brittany Macon estimated the turnout on Saturday to be around 70 people.
“This is our chance to give back to the community,” Macon said. “They inspire us as students, and after getting to talk to some of the participants and seeing how much of a difference we’re making, it just touches my heart to know that I’m doing something for somebody else.”
Macon said Health on the Block is the biggest event her group hosts, and they begin preparing for it as early as August.
The club, which is a local chapter of the North Carolina Health Careers Access Program, raises money for the event by working as ticket-takers at football and basketball games.
Club Historian Shannon Woodson said the event is a look into the future for those pursuing medical careers.
“This isn’t something for the money. It’s something from the heart,” she said. “In this field you’re going to see people from the community. You’re not going to work with celebrities when you go out and do clinic work.”
Nay Howell, head of the youth ministry at Barbee’s Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, attended the fair and said the location was one of its biggest perks.
“It’s a great place for the community,” she said. “It’s good because it’s right here. Everyone knows where it is.”
Howell said she plans to take the information she learned from the event back to the members of her church, especially the elderly.
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