The Will County Health Department will be continuing a decade long tradition when Bring Your Child to Work Day hits again this coming Thursday, April 27th.
For over ten years running, the Health Department has been able to use this special day as a day of fun learning for the children of employees that participate. “This is really unbelievable,” said Family Health Services Director Pat Dames-Schuster. “It goes back to before I was here. We’ve been able to structure it better as we’ve moved along.”
They have also been able to adjust the activities for whatever age group is participating. Family Health Services Administrative Assistant Peggy Todd, who is leading this year’s Bring Your Child to Work Day, says that in the past more older kids were participating. “We might have had educational events concerning HIV, STDs, CPR training, or other things young teens might respond to. But demographics have changed and now we have a younger crowd, the kind very much interested in how things work.”
While additional children of employees young and older are still welcome to join, this year’s schedule at the Will County Health Department has about 10 kids meeting in the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children Special Supplemental Nutrition Program) Program lunchroom; and immediately heading for a tour of the Environmental Department lab.
While in the lab, the kids will learn about how mosquito samples are tested for West Nile Virus. This will be followed by a very innovative program with Megan Walsh from the U of I Extension Office, where robotics activity and toothbrushes will be combined in an activity called “BristleBot.”
The lunch hour will be when Will County Health Department “Bring Your Child to Work” participants can hang with their parents at their work stations and learn more about their specific jobs. This will be followed by an afternoon schedule that will include a tour of the dental facility at the Health Department’s Community Health Center, along with a demonstration from Family Health Services’ Rebecca Deang on diabetes prevention by referring to the MAPP collaborative’s Rethink Your Drink program.
“Rethink Your Drink is perfect for the age group we will have,” said Todd. “I don’t think a lot of kids really realize how much sugar is in what they drink and what it can mean to their health.”
Dames-Schuster concluded that the great thing about the Health Department’s participation is the level of involvement. “At first this was something we just did in Family Health Services, then we expanded it to all departments. And many of the volunteers here don’t have kids participating. They’re just glad to help out.”
Anyone wanting to know about the Will County Health Department’s “Bring Your Child to Work Day” can call 815-727-8502, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.