08/11/10 — Teen talks reform at health fair at Broken Places

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Teen talks reform at health fair at Broken Places

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 11, 2010 1:46 PM

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Troy Herring

Josh Williams speaks at the podium during his speech on the issue of health reform, delivered to a group at a health fare at Rebuilding Broken Places Tuesday morning. The fair sought to teach locals about the ins-and-outs of federal health care, as well as provide free health screenings.

High school student Josh Williams was so impressed by what he heard at a recent seminar on health care reform, that he decided to make it the cornerstone of a community health fair.

Williams, 17 and a rising senior at Eastern Wayne High School, has been an intern this summer at Rebuilding Broken Places. He applied for the opportunity through the N.C. Development Initiative and was one of 40 chosen from across the state to participate in community service initiatives.

In addition to attending minority health meetings and running errands, the intern has been afforded experiences he hadn't anticipated, including a visit to the legislative building in Raleigh and being asked to plan a local prayer walk.

But it was a community seminar on health care reform at Wayne Community College that particularly sparked an interest.

"It opened my eyes to the new health care and how it can benefit people around us," he said, especially noting some of the testing and access to care that pertains to teens today.

Williams was prompted to localize the effort by helping organize the "Restoring Health and Wellness Empowerment Fair" at Greenleaf Vision of Faith Community Center on Tuesday. The event featured free health screenings, panel discussions and a brief message from Williams on the health care reform act.

"The goal is to get people thinking healthy, to be empowered to take care of our bodies," explained Francine Smith, one of the event organizers from Rebuilding Broken Places.

Booths were set up by such agencies as the Health Department, Goshen Medical and WATCH, or Wayne Action Teams for Community Health, with free screenings offered for blood pressure, blood sugar, weight and cholesterol.

"It's important to know what our numbers are, know what to do to address our numbers," Ms. Smith said.

The effort was also in line with the mission of Rebuilding Broken Places, a non-profit faith-based organization that works with the development of distressed urban and rural communities in Goldsboro and Wayne County.

"We want the community to know what options and health choices are available in our community and what impact health issues have on our local economy," said John Barnes, CEO of Rebuilding Broken Places.