The Great Neck Public Schools and United Parent-Teacher Council, or UPTC, hosted a Community Health and Wellness Fair on Tuesday night, in hopes of educating the community on various aspects on health and wellness.
Classroom doors were open at Great Neck North High School for people to enter for classes on topics like mental health, opioid abuse, parenting, physical fitness and certain medical conditions.
There was also a group of more than 20 exhibitors in the school’s gym, offering fliers, advice and the occasional sample of healthy food. There were also a few children playing with a small soccer ball in the open space.
One of the exhibitors was Dr. Michelle Klein, a chiropractor and clinical nutritionist at Balance Equals Health Inc. in Great Neck. When asked what key health advice she wanted to share with people, she emphasized the importance of focusing on the root causes of a problem – be it mental or physical – and addressing them.
“For optimal health and performance you need to listen to the body,” Klein said. “And the earlier age you learn how important it is to do that, the better.”
Sara Rietbroek, a trustee of the Great Neck PAL, said her group came to the fair to promote some of the activities and benefits the group has to offer like co-ed soccer for children from pre-K to sixth grade, tumbling for younger children, volleyball, and track and field.
Rietbroek said the benefits are vast. It not only gets children “off the couch” into a more healthy lifestyle, but can even help boost confidence.
“It’s all about the getting the kids outside” and “playing sports,” Rietbroek said.
Claudine Sarraf Amirian, who attended as a co-chair of the UPTC Health and Wellness Education Committee, acupuncturist and herbalist, said she hoped to educate people about “how to balance their body” when it comes to health.
And while the event was competing with many others going on that night, Amirian said it gave people the opportunity to network and educate themselves about health issues.
“There are so many great resources in Great Neck and its surroundings to help heal and balance people’s minds and bodies,” Amirian said. “People just need to take advantage of all these great resources.”
Dr. Warren Seigel, the chairman of pediatrics and director of adolescent medicine at Coney Island Hospital, also delivered a keynote speech about the state of children’s health.
David Zawatson, the director of the office of physical education, recreation and athletics, said community members were surveyed about what issues they wanted to see addressed, like mental health or drug abuse, in order to get a variety of experts to attend.
“We really aimed for a broad spectrum” Zawatson said, “and I think we achieved putting together a great program.”