Participants crowded the starting line. As the horn sounded, racers made their way through a maze of streets and booths.
About 200 people spent the morning of March 21 at All Saints Catholic School to participate in a 5k run and health fair organized by TCU senior nursing students.
TCU Nursing assistant professor Carol Howe said the health fair marked the completion of a comprehensive project conducted by the seniors.
“They start off doing a community assessment where they spend a couple of weeks really studying the community, meeting with the community, looking at census track data and finding out what’s really important to the community before putting on the health fair,” Howe said. “We really wanted to focus on topics that were important to the community rather than just making a guess.”
The seniors reached out to multiple outlets in the community such as the Fort Worth Fire Department and the American Diabetes Association.
Since the fair is geared towards the kids, senior Michelle Grzybowski said they also participated in the All Saints’ running club.
“We’ve ran with them a couple times which was great one-on-one experience with the kids,” Grzybowski said. “We really got to know them and some of the faculty as well.”
Their intense planning paid off.
Despite gloomy weather, there was a constant flow of people moving through the line of booths.
Each table had a different topic and a different way to interact with participants.
“Each of the students are responsible for a certain booth and as the kids and families come in, they are responsible for educating them,” Grzybowski said. “We have asthma, diabetes, exercise, and fun games and prizes to incorporate with all of them.”
Participants could feel what happens in asthmatic lungs by sticking their hand in different consistencies of batter and learn about what happens during an attack by playing a game of freeze-tag.
They saw how much sugar was in a bottle of soda versus juice and learned about healthy eating habits. Many people also tried their hand at CPR on portable dummies.
Elizabeth Lopez, a ten-year-old student at All Saints, said she liked learning about CPR and blood pressure.
“My favorite one was the blood pressure one because it talks about the blood inside your body and CPR,” Elizabeth said. “When someone gets hurt, like has a heart attack, you can help them in that way.”
Elizabeth and her father went to the fair as soon as they finished the one-mile run. She said she learned a lot from all of the booths.
“I learned that any time you exercise or do what your physical body tells you, you can accomplish anything,” Elizabeth said.
Senior Wren Conn said that it was cool to interact with the kids and that she was surprised by what she saw.
“I’ve been really surprised by the fact that they do understand the importance of exercise and they talk about how they think they should be outside playing with their friends biking and running,” Conn said.
Conn taught participants about the importance of exercise with a little help from TCU soccer players.
At her booth, kids could learn to kick and do tricks with a soccer ball.
All Saints student and runner of the 5k, Christian Azpeiteia, 9, said getting to play soccer with TCU players was his favorite part of the day.
“I learned that you should not use your tippie toe to kick it,” Christian said. “You need your whole foot to kick it.”
Christian said he was excited to practice what he learned.
“I want to play soccer at TCU,” Christian said.
Participants could drop a ticket in the jar of their favorite booth and spin the wheel for a chance to win a prize. But the real prize was the chance for TCU students to reach out and get to know members of the Fort Worth community.
“I think it’s really important for, especially TCU nursing majors, to come out, show that we support this community and we really do care about them as individuals and about their health because that’s why we chose to be nurses,” Conn said.
“I think this should be something that’s continued. It’s been really incredible,” Conn said.