Brooklyn Center Hosts 4th Annual Community Health Fair

Participants in the 5K Run/Walk, sponsored by Sports and Leadership Academy, gather at the start line to prepare for their 3-mile run.

Brooklyn Center held its 4e Annual Community Health Fair on August 13 at the city’s Centennial Park. The event brought together members of the community for a day of events including vendor stalls, running and walking events, entertainment, children’s activities, food and, of course, exams. health. Mshale’s Panashe Matemba Mutasa was there to document it. Participants in the 5K Run/Walk, sponsored by Sports and Leadership Academy, gather at the start line to prepare for their 3-mile run.

Dr. Angel Smith, communications and community engagement manager at the City of Brooklyn Center, addresses event attendees. “This event is a step in the right direction as we take care of our mental and physical health.”
Glenda Eldridge said an unhealthy childhood motivated her to reconsider her lifestyle choices and become a “health enthusiast” to avoid her parents’ fate. “As children, many of us [in the African American community] would eat meals without vegetables. After watching my mom and dad die of cancer, I thought about how we can improve as a people.
Volunteers, participants and staff pose for a photo after students from the Sports and Leadership Academy gave brief speeches.
Frankie Miamen, the founder of Sports and Leadership Academy, shared his vision behind starting the business. “Our mission is to inspire the next generation through sport, and we believe that every child and young adult can improve their life through physical activity. We chose sport as our avenue because we [many in the African American/Black community] grew up with sports. Many children are still struggling with mental health issues due to the pandemic, so we are fortunate to be able to provide this outlet for them.
Afrocontigbo, an African dance company based in nearby Hopkins, presented a set featuring traditional and contemporary dances from various parts of Africa. Nigerian-born Korma Aguh-Stuckmayer said regular dancing can be a good way to maintain good mental health. “We believe that dancing should be part of everyone’s life.”
Tanya Welch said she attends the health fair every year because it’s good for the community. “I come here every year, and it’s a great opportunity for us to get together. So far this is my favorite. “
LaToya Turk, acting director of the city’s Office of Community Prevention, Health and Safety, said she was proud to be part of the team that makes the event possible each year. “This is an opportunity for us to introduce our community to different resources for health and well-being: both physical and mental. We aim to make it an inclusive experience, and even our selection of vendors reflects the diversity of our wonderful city.
Dr. Sboyah Karloh (left) and Chen Barwu compete in the 5km run. “I play football in Brooklyn Park. I wanted to be part of it because I care about mental health. You can do well in all aspects of your life, but if your mental health is not good, you are not well,” Karloh said.
Nduba Namoonde, a Zambian-American and branch manager at a financial firm, said that despite walking 11 miles the night before, he decided to attend the health fair. “I was excited when I saw some of the activities offered here, like the 5K walk. It’s so important to take the opportunity to get outside and exercise when you can.
Attendees listen to students from Sports and Leadership Academy, an organization that partners with local schools to encourage physical activity, share their experiences at the academy and explain why physical fitness is important.
David Kromah said he suffered a football-related injury but still tries to get out and exercise whenever he can for the sake of his physical and mental health. “Mental health is important to me because it controls the whole body.”
Kahlil Permenter supports his wife, Felicia, owner of AKN Wellness, a Minneapolis-based health and wellness organization. Permenter says he and his wife take their health seriously and hope they can help the community place more value on good health. “I’m starting to see a huge shift in black people where we’re being more proactive about our health, and I think that’s great.”

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