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UMFK students use health fair to promote community wellness

Nursing students Tricia Sherman, left, and Lauren St Laurent, were among those who helped organize a health fair, Wednesday, April 12.
(Don Eno | SJVT/FhF)

FORT KENT, Maine — Nursing students hosted their annual community health and wellness fair, Wednesday, April 12, and welcomed elementary school students from Wallagrass, Fort Kent, Eagle Lake and Madawaska and community members to the University of Maine at Fort Kent campus.

“It’s going really well,” said Tricia Sherman, president of UMFK Student Nurses Organization, at lunch. “It’s been fun.”

Sherman and SNO Vice President Lauren St. Laurent oversaw a table of door prizes each student group was eligible to win. Among the items were sports equipment and other outdoor items.

“We tried to get outside stuff,” St. Laurent said. “To get them outdoors and active.”

Education and activity stations at this year’s fair included blood pressure screening, healthy drink options, hygiene, coping skills, diet, severe weather, bike safety, yoga and Zumba.

Nursing students Keiana Sirois and Cassidy Ouellette were in charge of the yoga station.

“Ours is more low key. They can do the Zumba and then we talk about stretching and relaxing,” said Ouellette.

“It’s been busy,” said Fort Kent Police Chief Tom Pelletier, who was at the wellness fair with officer Connor LaPierre. The uniformed pair talked with children about bike safety and severe weather awareness.

“It’s good to meet with the children and talk with them,” Pelletier said, in-between chatting with several students who seemed fascinated by being able to talk with a policeman.

Paramedic Amy Dionne and EMT James Marquis with Ambulance Service Inc. were also at the fair, demonstrating the ambulance stretcher and showing children how the cardiac monitor works.

Certified instructor and fitness competitor Bianca Babin organized the popular Zumba sessions at the fair. Nearly half of the UMFK gym was needed for this fun activity, as Babin led students and some teachers in a choreographed routine.

The theme of the fair, which lasted all day, was to promote health and wellness within the community, starting with the youth. This included addressing issues from physical fitness and nutrition to mental health awareness.

Each year student nurse organizers look for chiropractors, yoga instructors, bicyclists, therapists, nutritionist, dentists, optometrist, fitness clubs and health care services providers interested in being part of the fair.

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