As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the Southside Elementary School District is postponing its annual Migrant Health Fair until further notice. The fair offers a chance for migrant children and their parents to access medical, dental, hearing and vision screenings, as well as other health resources.
Health Program Coordinator and Migrant Program Liaison Paula Bonilla has organized the health fair since 2008, and has worked at Southside School for the last 40 years. Speaking with BenitoLink, she emphasized the importance of health education and helping children who do not have affordable access to healthcare providers and resources. She is passionate about hosting the health fair every year because she went through high school with an undiagnosed condition.
“I did not know that I had an undiagnosed medical issue that was affecting my school success,” she said. “It was through the intervention of a school teacher that allowed me to get the medical attention at Stanford that allowed me to finish high school successfully, and then go on and get further education at Gavilan College.”
Through the health fair, Bonilla and other participants provide advice and medical attention to children who may be struggling just like she did.
“Two years ago there was a student that was struggling academically and was below grade level,” Bonilla said. “At the health fair we diagnosed this student with an acute vision problem. Today he is performing at grade level in all subjects.”
Last year’s fair featured food, live music and health checks for 350 migrant students and their families, Bonilla said. She noted that she is still collecting donations that will go directly toward educating and supporting the local migrant student population.
Bonilla also gave thanks to the health fair’s many local sponsors. “We run the health fair completely on local donations from Foothill Health Clinic, Dr. Freeman, Ausaymas Farms, the Alameda family, the Erickson family, R&R Labor, Sabor Farms, San Benito Farm Bureau, Community Foundation, SmashBurger, Super Taqueria, Tracy Taggart, Mr. and Mrs. Sergio Sanchez, County Supervisor Jaime De La Cruz and the Bounce Company.”
For more information or to donate, contact Paula Bonilla at [email protected] or call (831) 801-3010.
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