The Monroe County Health Department and Womankind are partnering to put a new twist on the traditional health fair, aiming to not only support teens with information on the risk behaviors typically found among high school students, but also advocating for and providing wellness opportunities and resources from the local communities in which they live. “What The Health: A Wellness Fair for Florida Keys Teens” will take place this March at Marathon High School (March 4), Key West High School (March 5), and Coral Shores High School (March 11), reaching nearly 3,000 high school students throughout Monroe County.
“Our mission is to help teens recognize healthy and unhealthy habits, know what their resources are, and make it easy for them to reach out for help when they need it,” says Cali Roberts, Womankind Executive Director. “We also want to remind them that there are many activities and volunteer opportunities available to them that are not only fun, but very unique to our subtropical region.”
Today’s teens face mounting pressures like no other generation— social media overuse, mental health challenges like anxiety, depression, and suicide ideation, substance abuse, sexual activity, pregnancy, and STD’s, obesity, peer pressure, smoking and vaping, bullying or being bullied, boredom, bulimia, anorexia, and nutritional issues, and academic challenges. State and county Youth Risk survey statistics are alarming: 14% carry a weapon, 18% vape or smoke, 35% text or email while driving, only 57% used a condom during last sexual intercourse, 14% have seriously considered suicide.
The fairs will provide students with opportunities to explore topics they might otherwise feel too nervous or “cool” to ask about and to discover the many resources available that can help support them on their adolescent journey. Some will be health-related while others will be about what’s both fun and safe: places to go on a Friday night, entertaining but healthy ways to spend a Saturday afternoon, discounted activities they can enjoy with their peers, and volunteer opportunities they may not know about. Students will receive a discount card good for use at local business sponsors, valid after visiting a certain amount of the booths, and will also include them in a grand prize drawing for Bluetooth ear pods, paddleboard adventure outings, and other certificates of teen interest.
So far, the collaborative community partnership includes Womankind, Monroe County Health Department, Florida Keys Area Health Education Center, Walk Safe/Bike Safe, Advanced Urgent Care, Rural Health Network, Guidance Care Center, Lazy Dog Adventures, and they are looking for other local businesses and organizations to participate or donate in support of the health and wellness of Monroe County teens.
To participate in or be a sponsor of What The Health: A Health Fair for Florida Keys Teens, contact Cali Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.cahi.org/. Womankind is located at 1511 Truman Avenue, across the street from Bayview Park, and is open Monday through Friday, 8: 00am to 5:00pm.