• 72°

Festival to offer medical exams, immunization shot vouchers

LaGRANGE — For kids to enroll in public schools, they have to be in good health. To help with this, Bringing the Ages Together is pairing with the Lois Brown Free Children’s Health Clinic to hold a Free Family Festival.

The festival, held at the Oliver Greene Multipurpose Center Boys & Girls Club in LaGrange, will offer family fun and a litany of medical exams, including immunization shot vouchers, birth certificate vouchers needed for Pre-K, kindergarten and daycare enrollment. Free general dental, vision and hearing exams will also be available for ages three through 21.

Along with the medical treatment, those who attend the festival can expect live entertainment, cultural activities, video games and different types of food.

Bringing the Ages Together is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) community based organization that started in 2004 as a community initiative that brought local, state and social service agencies directly to the community, according to their website. Founder and Executive Director Wanda Jennings started the program after realizing the need in the community.

“I was in a situation where I was working with a young lady who was trying to get health screenings for her children that were going to daycare and pre-k,” Jennings said. “She didn’t have enough money. It was $100 per child, so I realized that this was a problem.”

Since then the organization has added free kidney testing from the American Kidney Fund, created the Alfred Jennings Free Health and Screening Clinic and The Lois Brown Free Children’s Clinic to expand health services to the community, partnered with the Georgia Diabetes Coalition to provide free screenings and put on festivals every year for the community.

Jennings, who owns the Mackey-Wilson-Jennings Funeral Home, said that she also does this to make sure area children keep on track in their education.

“We found that a lot of parents were keeping a lot of their kids out of school, out of daycare, out of kindergarten and pre-k because they couldn’t afford it,” she said. “When those kids finally started out in pre-k, they start at a disadvantage, because they weren’t getting any schooling. That starts a domino effect that impacts the dropout rate. The whole basis of this project is getting them the education they need.”

Bringing the Ages Together will also be holding an event in September for adults to get screening for themselves.

“The goal of Bringing the Ages Together is to be sure that everybody in Troup County and surrounding areas, including rural areas, has access to free healthcare, free information, cultural awareness and family support,” Jennings said. “That’s what we do.”