Learning and fun went hand in hand this past June at The Night Ministry's Health Fair for Youth Programs participants, an educational event centered on sharing information about important health topics. The fair, which took place just outside the agency's Bucktown headquarters, was a joint effort cohosted with medical students from Rush University.
The cohosts set up five booths staffed by the students. Each addressed topics including sexual education, the intersectionality of race & health, HIV/AIDS, birth control, and navigating the system. All provided games to get participants engaged.
"Each station had an interactive element along with information about the topic," said Devin Redmond, Residential Services and Training Coordinator. "To finish a station, participants needed to complete the game or activity." Among the games on offer were balloon pop and ring toss.
Because The Night Ministry has program facilities in several areas of the city, staff provided many Health Fair attendees with transportation. As the waves of young people arrived, each participant received a drawstring backpack filled with hygiene items along with a list of resources relevant to the event's topics. Guests were also given a food ticket which could be exchanged for a meal provided by The Night Ministry and a 'health passport.'
"The 'health passports' were used to track full participation at each of the booths. Participants who completed booths were given raffle tickets and those who tried all of them received a bonus!" said Redmond. "We had a lot of exciting raffle prizes including Airpods, Bluetooth speakers, and $100, $50, and $25 Visa gift cards."
Attending the fair was not required for Youth Programs participants but a large number chose to come. "I came here to have fun," shared participant Christian. And amid the smiles and laughter, it seemed many others could say the same.