The Children’s Awareness Carnival began in 1991 with the American Heart Association “Jump Rope for Heart” program and has been held annually on campus for a number of years. On Thursday, May 1st, the Children’s Awareness Committee (CAC) invited 212 fifth grade students from Title I schools in the Stockton and Lodi Unified School Districts onto the pharmacy and health sciences (PHS) campus for an all-day event filled with engaging educational activities.
The morning portion consisted of indoor activities. The students split up into seven groups which rotated through seven stations, some of which included sheep heart dissections with the American Heart Association, smoking cessation and lung awareness with the American Lung Association, and an exercise and breakdancing activity organized by Kappa Psi. At the conclusion of the morning rotations, the students were then free to explore the carnival which was outdoors on the PHS lawn. With luau-inspired decorations, music, fire drill demonstrations, face painting, and much more, the kids had plenty of activities to learn about health-related topics, engage with their friends as well as with the volunteers, and win numerous prizes to take home. Although the students did not want to leave, the event ended around 1:45 p.m. and the buses headed home by 2 p.m.
The tradition of the Children’s Awareness Carnival continues annually because of the immense opportunity it gives to the students in the local community. The CAC is sometimes the first and possibly the only field trip that these students will experience, which is why the Committee strives to conduct such a large and all-inclusive event. With 28 participating student committees and organizations, we were able to encourage 140 student volunteers, not only from the pharmacy program but also from the dental hygiene and the speech-language pathology programs to participate. The Children’s Awareness Committee strives to make the carnival better each year, and we could not have done it without the support of the faculty, students, and especially our advisor, Dr. Denis Meerdink. The committee would also like to thank Rite Aid for their generous support. When asked about her favorite part of the Carnival, second year CAC co-chair, Jina Choi ’15, shared, “It’s so rewarding to see everything we’ve been working on all year finally come together and to see the kids absolutely love it.”