Corpus Christi Back-to-school Health Fair Needs Volunteers
Volunteers are needed to help stuff backpacks with school supplies, work at booths, and help with setup and teardown at the Lead First Foundation Health Fair on Aug. 18. Students in kindergarten through 12th grade are welcome to attend for free immunizations, health screenings, backpacks filled with school supplies, shoe vouchers, and more, said foundation founder Guy Nickleson. This year’s Lead First Health Fair is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Ray High School. Other school giveaways in the community can be found here.
“The main goal and purpose of this foundation is to help kids overcome barriers in their lives,” Nickleson said. “We help them with their reading and math skills and their social skills as well. We want to help them start dreaming about having a career and to do positive things with their lives.”
Nickleson started the foundation in 2007 after working for several years with the YMCA.
“I decided I wanted to impact the lives of kids even more, so I created my own foundation,” he said. “Most of the kids in our program, their grades have gone up, attendance is much better, they’ve gone on to college or joined the military to serve their country and give something back.”
Giving back is a major focus of the foundation’s work, which is aimed at kids in George Evans and Oak Park elementary schools, Driscoll Middle School, Metro Prep, and Miller and Coles high schools. Students are encouraged and helped to find volunteer opportunities for themselves to teach them the importance of giving back and becoming a productive citizen in the communities in which they live.
“Everything we do is to try to give these kids hope and strength to overcome,” Nickleson said. “We are all trying to make a difference and change lives and change the paths that these kids are going down.”
The program is funded through donations and grants. No government money is involved, Nickleson said. It is run by a board of directors, which is currently chaired by Scott Smith.
“Our organization works with at-risk kids to get them leadership skills and encourage them to pursue academics,” Smith said. “We’ve had support from all the refineries in the area throughout the years, from H-E-B, different insurance groups, and lots of individuals.
One of Nickleson’s priorities is to make sure most of the money collected goes directly to helping the kids. Part of that is providing free immunizations and medical exams, 600 shoe vouchers, and about 1,500 backpacks with grade-appropriate school supplies at the health fair.
While it’s one of the foundation’s major events of the year, the health fair is not the only service provided or the only way volunteers can be involved. Help is needed year-round tutoring and mentoring students.
“We are looking for volunteers who are committed to what we are doing here,” Nickleson said. “Volunteers are needed to help work with kids in writing, reading, and math skills — any areas where they have deficiencies.”
HOW TO VOLUNTEER
To volunteer for Lead First for the health fair event or any of the year-round opportunities, contact Nickleson at (361) 878-7380 ext. 22801 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers for the health fair will meet for assignments at 1:30 p.m. every Wednesday until the day of the fair at Coles High School, which is where Nickleson has his office. Meetings will be Aug. 1, 8, and 15.
Coles High School is located at 924 Winnebago St. Ray High School, the location of the health fair, is at 1002 Texan Trail.
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