October 5, 2015 | Philipsburg, St. Maarten | Royston Philbert/IAD
Over 500 children from the communities Philipsburg, St. Maarten, took part in a first-of-its-kind Children’s Expo organized by Seventh-day Adventist churches across the Caribbean Island last month.
The initiative, themed “Healthy Me”, attracted youngsters and their parents for free medical screenings and activities in an effort to bring awareness to obesity, poor nutrition, and other juvenile health problems, said Margaret Peters, children’s ministries director for the church in the North Caribbean Conference.
Children’s ministries and health ministries departments from St. Maarten enlisted the American University of the Caribbean medical team as well as St. Maarten Dental Care to provide health checks.
Health checks included eye tests, free dental care instructions, oral checks, height and weight monitoring, blood pressure and pulse rate checks. Wellness demonstrations and healthy living presentations by Adventist school teachers were also provided along with development-related seminars and healthy meals demonstrations.
Peters said the event was well supported and many community and church members expressed their gratitude for the church’s initiative and requested that the expo be held on a regular basis.
The main message sought to remind children that God wants everyone to enjoy a long and healthy life, expressed Peters.
“I think it’s great for the community,” said Yvette Dupuis, program coordinator. “It’s a way of letting them know that, as a church, we’re not only interested in their spiritual development, but the church caters to the whole person. We take care of their social, physical and spiritual needs.” Dupuis plans to make the outreach an annual event.
Dental treatments to over 60 children from the community were provided by the Colgate Dental Mobile Clinic, which partnered with the church for the health expo.
After being treated by the dental hygienists, the children were given a gift package, complete with T-shirts, toothbrushes and much-needed information on the importance of good dental hygiene.
The idea of the expo stemmed from the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s desire to share its resources with the community. The health team, headed by Nurse Sheryl Carty together with Yvette Dupuis and NCC Women’s Ministries Director Margaret Peters, decided on the expo as a primary means of meeting the health needs of the community and sharing much-needed health information. The program is a part of the church’s mission to fulfill Christ’s mandate of spreading the gospel to this generation, through service in the community. The six Adventist Churches on the island joined efforts for the children’s health expo initiative.
For more information on the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the North Caribbean Conference visit, norcaribbeanconference.org