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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Pediatric Health Fair/Expo Educates While Just Having Fun

August 2, 2022

The first annual “Pediatric Health Fair/Expo” held last month exceeded expectations for the Registered Nursing (RN) program at the SJVC Visalia campus. Sherri Abbott (RN Assistant Program Director) and Jennifer Reyes (full time faculty member) wanted to do something they had never done – allow the student cohort of 36 students to practice – in real time – a fundamental skill of nursing: educating children and parents for prevention and good health. In the past, RN students practiced “teaching” safety topics to each other as the patient in lieu of parents or children. But Sherri wondered what if they educated actual parents and children? As an experiment she decided for the first expo to invite only student and staff families.


Inspired by Sherri’s idea, her colleague Jennifer took the organizational lead and instructed the students to come up with creative ideas for how to teach each of the topics they would cover: water safety, car safety, fire safety, healthy eating, dental health, being physically active, and teaching developmental milestones to parents. “Soon the students were making posters using pictures and language that children could understand,” said Jennifer, “getting lifejackets to try on, even finding the cutest stuffed animals with teeth so kids could brush the teeth of the animal!” Jennifer emphasized that children learn from play, so she got the students to get down with them, and play they did.


One of the two biggest hits of the day was the Visalia Fire Department truck. One young fireman attending, who said he had a new baby at home, was eagerly educated by students on baby milestones during the first year, while he in turn talked fire safety to the kids.  As the heat of the day wore on, the water safety area became more popular and – replete with water toys – gathered enough kids to create a party atmosphere. A good time was had by all.


“At SJVC, community is important to us. In the future we look forward to having bigger and better events,” said Sherri Abbott. It was a truly inspired team effort by staff and students to make it the success that it was and bodes well for an expanded expo next year to include the Visalia community as well.

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