Posing with the plaque recognizing “the outstanding youth-driven efforts to create awareness and support” for the Wildcats Wellness Center are, l-r: (standing) Chris Metz, Kim Arndts, Laura, Joyce Spicer, Keri Bennett, and Cindy Magness, NP. (seated) Harry Bonner, Jalen Sanders, Kari Huang, and Sam Watkins.
Members of the Teen Advisory Council of the Wildcats Wellness Center in Albion earned a $350 cash award for the center by taking first prize in a State organized promotional competition. The Wildcats Wellness Center is a School-Based Health Center (SBHC) that serves youth 10-21 (and their children) in and around the city of Albion. There are over 90 SBHCs that are monitored by the School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan (SCHA-MI) and partially funded by grants from the Michigan Departments of Community Health and Education. February is School-Based Health Center Awareness Month and this year the SCHA-MI promoted a competition among the SBHCs by scoring each center based on the promotional activities that they undertook during February.
Keri Bennett, the school and community outreach director of SCHA-MI, came to Albion High School last week to present the check and large plaque recognizing the outstanding youth-driven efforts to promote and raise awareness about the center. “I offered a long list of promotional activities, thinking every center could find at least a few activities on the list that their center could perform,” Bennett said in making the presentation to both student and adult representatives of the center “I never expected one group to do so many, nor have I seen such a collaborative effort. This community is clearly vested in the future of their children.”
On hand for the presentation was Joyce Spicer, Executive Director of the Albion Health Care Alliance – the group that submitted an application to the state to help fund the WWC. “I think this is one of the greatest resources that we have for kids in Albion,” said Spicer, “and we’re so grateful for Oaklawn’s participation.” Oaklawn Hospital is the sponsoring agency that staffs the center and underwrites the medical services that aren’t covered by the State’s $175,000 grant or patient fees.
The WWC’s medical provider is Cindy Magness, NP, a Nurse Practitioner who conducts exams, provides treatment, and can write prescriptions. She and Medical Assistant Trish Cox also partner with other local health care providers to arrange for specialized care and services when needed. Additionally they provide basic laboratory services, tests, and offer individual, group, and community health education. They also work alongside adult volunteers and the Teen Advisory Council (TAC), which meets monthly and is open to all students.
Some of the activities that the TAC undertook to promote the WWC included securing a proclamation from the mayor and city council; offering tours of the center; staffing an information table at teacher/parent conferences; having students write essays on what the WWC means to them; arranging for State Representative Kate Segal to tour the center and meet with students; made and displayed banners throughout the middle and high school; conducted a basketball forum that incorporated a theme stressing the importance of lifelong exercise; and a fundraiser to support the American Cancer Society.
A number of adults joined students in praising the services offered by the WWC, including Superintendent Fred Clarke, High School Principal Bobby Thompkins and Assistant Principal/AD Brad Shedd;,Harry Bonner from Minority Program Services and Substance Abuse Prevention; Kim Arndts, Marketing Co-Chair; Luanne Miller, Oaklawn Hospital Physician Practice Director; and Albion College student participant, Chris Metz. The center has not yet determined how they’ll spend the $350, which was part of a $1000 grant that West Lansing Walmart contributed to the School-Community Health Care Alliance of Michigan.
The Wildcats Wellness Center opened its doors in 2006 and had over 750 patient-visits last school year. The entrance is off the west parking lot at Albion High School, at 225 Watson Street. Students may drop in or call (517) 629-8464 for information. No one, aged 10-21, is turned away.