People helping people: Rainbow Village hosting health screening festival

The "Free" Gwinnett Well-Family Health Festival is Scheduled for Nov. 17.

Rainbow Village Inc., a nonprofit in Gwinnett County serving homeless families through a transitional housing program, and the Gwinnett County Resource Coordinators are hosting a free Health Festival at Central Baptist Church in Lilburn.

The festival is sponsored by the Fannie Mae Foundation "Help the Homeless Program" in cooperation with Hands on Atlanta and the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta. The Festival begins at 8 a.m. and continues until noon.

"We're calling it the 'Free' Well-Family Festival," said Rainbow Village Resource Development Director Deborah Pelham, "because we're offering free health screenings for both adults and children. We will be offering blood pressure, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, cholesterol and dental screenings, and hopefully we'll be able to offer vision, hearing and dermatological screenings as well.

"We've had a wonderful response from the health provider community and we're still actively looking for additional participants. We'll also have lots of educational booths, fun activities for kids and raffle prizes."

Mary Jane LaBonte, case manager for Rainbow Village, is excited about offering screenings for adults as well as children.

"Although their children may be covered by Medicaid through the Department of Family and Children Services, most of our adult residents don't have health insurance even when they are working two or three jobs, and affordable primary health care alternatives are limited for the working or unemployed poor. We have residents who are embarrassed to go to job interviews because of missing and diseased teeth and undiagnosed vision, hearing and other health problems."

To date, the Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett, Amerigroup, Emory Eastside Hospital, Partnership Against Domestic Violence, Gwinnett County Schools, Consumer Credit Counseling Services, the Latin American Association, Vital Smiles, Norcross Head Start/Pre-K/SPARK and numerous other organizations are participating.

To become involved in the free Gwinnett Well-Family Health Festival call Deborah Pelham at Rainbow Village, 770-446-3800, ext. 15. Volunteers are encouraged to sign up through the Hands On Atlanta Web site at www.handsonatlanta.org. Bilingual volunteers are especially needed.

Rainbow Village is also looking for businesses, church groups, families and individuals willing to help with Christmas gifts for the children and adults in our transitional housing program. For more information, call 770-446-3800.

"People Helping People" is a weekly column written by the executive directors of nonprofit organizations in Gwinnett County. Today's article was written by Nancy Yancey, the executive director of Rainbow Village Inc. in Norcross.

Need help or know someone who does? The Gwinnett Helpline directs callers to the appropriate nonprofit agency. Call 770-995-3339.