8th annual health fair checks up on BC

Maryann Kopp

The Bakersfield College Student Health Center’s eighth annual Health and Wellness Fair took place on the BC campus May 2.
With elevator music sounding in the background, more than 30 different vendors and organizations were present to provide the public with everything from free health information via handouts, fliers and displays to raffle prizes and small samples of food products. Teddie Scott of the Bakersfield Pregnancy Center, a charity organization that helps pregnant women by offering maternity clothes, baby clothes, and car seats for free, said that their work does not stop there. “We want to inform women about their choices,” said Scott. “And if they plan on having an abortion, we give them an ultrasound first so that they can see how far along they are. Many women get upset because at an abortion clinic they will not provide ultrasounds.”
There were several plastic examples of how a fetus will look after so many weeks into the pregnancy. The Kern County Department of Public Health had several displays emphasizing the negative effects that smoking has on both the smoker’s body as well as everyone else’s.
With names like “Death of a Lung” and “The Consequences of Smoking,” onlookers could view plastic replicas of what a lung with emphysema looks like, how a brain looks after a stroke, what bladder cancer looks like, and the classic lung with cancer. Three HIV educators representing the Community Action Partnership of Kern-HIV Prevention Program were providing information directed mainly at gay, bisexual, lesbian, and transgender individuals.
“Because we live where we do, it can be very difficult to find other gay, bi, lesbian, or transgender people in the community that is not in a sexually charged environment, like a bar,” explained HIV educator Shantell Waldo. “With programs like Mpowerment, we are able to reach out to younger kids and each other and educate about the effects of HIV and how to prevent contracting it.”
Mpowerment is a group of gay, bisexual, and transgender men who get together regularly as a means to create a safe environment where they can hang out and be themselves. The founders of Mpowerment, Billie Joe Fox and John Chaplow, were also present. Quality Life Design representative Brenda Mulder, RD, was handing out free gummy bears that were made out of fruits and vegetables, like pomegranate and kale.
“We help teach people about how to take care of their bodies,” said Mulder. “We are interested in making people aware of cellular health and how to take care of the well being of their cells.” The products provided through Quality Life Design are based on glyconutrients and Mulder, having used such products for the past 10 years, can attest to the effectiveness of the products.
“I used to think, as a nutritionist, that eating healthy would provide me with everything I needed,” said Mulder. “But I would catch every cold that was going around. In about four to six months, I was able to get rid of my allergies and didn’t get sick nearly as often as I had prior.”
The BC Student Health Center had a table with pamphlets about anxiety, healthy weight, HIV testing, STD facts, emergency contraception, and more. Many different people came to take advantage of the different sources of health education that the Health and Wellness Fair provided.