2010-11-19 / Community

Churches Join With AFHC For New Type Of Health Fair

By Vivian Rattay Carter Special to The Wave

Rebekkah Rodriguez-Thompson of First Congregational (right) discussed solutions to early literacy problems with Dianna Rosa of Ready Rockaway. Rebekkah Rodriguez-Thompson of First Congregational (right) discussed solutions to early literacy problems with Dianna Rosa of Ready Rockaway. It looks like the start of a great and positive coalition. Last Saturday, November 6, two of the oldest houses of worship in Rockaway, First Congregational Church of Beach 94 Street, and St. John Baptist Church, located at Beach 74 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, joined with the Joseph Addabbo Family Health Center of Arverne, to put a new spin on the idea of the “health fair.” It was not just a passive display of health information and testing; rather, volunteers from the sponsoring churches partnered with the Addabbo Center to actively engage presenters and participants in discussions on health and well-being topics.

The concept was spearheaded by Deacon Jimmy Stillwell, executive director of the Samaritan Hands Community Outreach Center at St. John Baptist Church, and a medical social worker at Addabbo Center. St. John Baptist has designated a group of volunteers as “health ambassadors” to coordinate the congregation’s community outreach and education efforts in response to the epidemics of breast cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, asthma and teen pregnancy, among other problems. Deacon Stillwell’s wife, Jacquelyn, a health ambassador, had become acquainted with Pastor Joseph Medlin and the members of First Congregational through various joint charitable endeavors initiated between that church and the families of PS/MS 183 of Beach 79 Street, where she is the parent coordinator. Medlin learned of St. John Baptist’s own successful community health fair in September, and invited the health ambassadors of the neighboring church to meet with lay leaders of First Congregational to share their expertise. The recent health fair was the fruit of these efforts.

Addabbo’s nutrition counselor, Devoren Abrams (left), discusses what’s in a healthy breakfast cereal with Dianne Gaertner of First Congregational. Addabbo’s nutrition counselor, Devoren Abrams (left), discusses what’s in a healthy breakfast cereal with Dianne Gaertner of First Congregational. The two churches hope to continue their partnership in the future, beginning this Saturday, November 20, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., when St. John Baptist will be sponsoring a community outreach workshop called “Living With Diabetes.”

Above, presenters included Ready Rockaway, New York Life Insurance, 100 Precinct Community Affairs, the Josephine Johnson Reading/Math Tutoring Program at St. John Baptist, One World, One Heart Early Literacy program, Global Business Institute of Mott Avenue, plus Addabbo’s staff educators on nutrition, WIC programs and other topics. Right, Health ambassadors from St. John Baptist and volunteers from First Congregational came together at the event, to join in promoting a healthier Rockaway. Above, presenters included Ready Rockaway, New York Life Insurance, 100 Precinct Community Affairs, the Josephine Johnson Reading/Math Tutoring Program at St. John Baptist, One World, One Heart Early Literacy program, Global Business Institute of Mott Avenue, plus Addabbo’s staff educators on nutrition, WIC programs and other topics. Right, Health ambassadors from St. John Baptist and volunteers from First Congregational came together at the event, to join in promoting a healthier Rockaway. Information, resources and support will be provided for those struggling after a family member has been diagnosed with diabetes. All in the community are invited.

Far left photo: Brian McCabe, Community Affairs Officer for the 100 Precinct (right), provided literature and spoke with participants. He is pictured with Suzanne Trivedi of First Congregational and Pastor Joseph Medlin. In the photo to the left, Ready Rockaway’s Dianna Rosa and Jackie Bascom (left of table) asked First Congregational members if they have a “go bag” ready for emergency evacuations. Far left photo: Brian McCabe, Community Affairs Officer for the 100 Precinct (right), provided literature and spoke with participants. He is pictured with Suzanne Trivedi of First Congregational and Pastor Joseph Medlin. In the photo to the left, Ready Rockaway’s Dianna Rosa and Jackie Bascom (left of table) asked First Congregational members if they have a “go bag” ready for emergency evacuations.

Right photo: Since it’s Saturday, the attire is casual as Medlin greets Elder Dr. James D. Williams, Pastor of St. John Baptist (right). In the photo far right, the church hall at First Congregational was filled with a wide array of presenters who spoke one-on-one with attendees. The presenters handed out many informational pamphlets and posters and also brought educational items ranging from a power-point presentation to giveaways for children and adults. Right photo: Since it’s Saturday, the attire is casual as Medlin greets Elder Dr. James D. Williams, Pastor of St. John Baptist (right). In the photo far right, the church hall at First Congregational was filled with a wide array of presenters who spoke one-on-one with attendees. The presenters handed out many informational pamphlets and posters and also brought educational items ranging from a power-point presentation to giveaways for children and adults.

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