Maumee Middle School Hosts 23 Local Vendors During Health Fair

PT Link business marketing manager Joe Szafarowicz uses a grip test on Eddie Luntz while Rylund Timmerns looks on. MIRROR PHOTO BY KRISTI FISH

BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — It’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and at Maumee Middle School, students are learning how physical, social, emotional and mental health go hand in hand.

The Maumee Middle School Health Fair brought in vendors from 23 local businesses and organizations with different health-related objectives to provide students with education on the resources available to them throughout the community.

“We wanted to give our students more awareness and let them know what’s available in our community for their overall wellness,” said Maumee Middle School health teacher Kristi Biniker. “We talk about it a lot in health class, too, your social wellness, mental and emotional wellness, physical wellness, your food choices, and I feel we had a really good representation of all those areas here.”

Several vendors, including the Maumee City Schools Food Services department, had snacks and drinks available for students, educating them on a well-balanced diet.

The Maumee Fire Department used a pulse oximeter on students and provided them with more information on their physical health.

The Maumee Police Division was on hand to explain the dangers of vaping to the sixth- through eighth-grade students, too.

“We wanted to show them that one of the fruity vapes is equal to about 50 cigarettes,” said Maumee Police Division prevention and community outreach coordinator Abby Schr-oeder. “They haven’t really put together the connection between nicotine and vapes and cigarettes.”

In addition to education on certain subjects, vendors were also present to introduce themselves and their career fields to the students.

“We just love coming to support the community, ultimately,” said PT Link business marketing manager Joe Szafarowicz. “When the kids see us here, they then won’t be afraid if they ever have to come to physical therapy.”

At the PT Link booth, students also tried hands-on experience with cupping therapy and a grip test.

Providing the middle schoolers with engaging activities kept them excited about the fair, Biniker noted.

“I just really want them to take away something that maybe they’ve never thought of or experienced and to really think about wellness in all its forms,” Biniker said.

Andrea Snyder, the owner of Pop It Paint It in Waterville, wanted to show students how art can help them with their mental health. Using different art techniques, she encouraged students to schedule time to have no expectations and get their feelings out on paper.

“Art is so important for mental health, and it’s good for kids to have unplanned, zero-expectation time for that,” Snyder said.

Metroparks Toledo was also at the event, reminding students that mental health can also be improved simply by spending time outdoors.

Additionally, Metroparks Toledo administrative assistant Amber Breault-Albain informed the middle school students about the upcoming expo at Side Cut Metropark on Saturday, May 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., featuring free, fun activities to benefit their physical health.

“It’s our big outdoor expo and it’s all free,” Breault-Albain said. “It’s all of our programming all in one park. The kids will get to do tree climbing, rock climbing, paddling sports, everything we have to offer all in one space.”

With each booth, the students were able to learn more about events and organizations in their area that are tailored for them and can help them with all different aspects of their health, Biniker said.

All of the hard work of several middle school staff members and the community was worth it, she added, if it meant the students walked away from the day having found more ways to care for themselves.

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