Utica College health fair aimed specifically at refugees

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Story Updated: Apr 14, 2010

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Public service took the form of a health fair Wednesday where Utica College students helped to educate 200 refugees in the Mohawk Valley.

Wednesday's lesson plans centered around simple health topics in classrooms at Utica College - topics that can make a big difference in everyday lives such as first aid, CPR, and the importance of immunizations.

Every seven minutes on Wednesday, groups at the health fair would rotate from classroom to classroom, where new student teachers would give hands-on instruction.

Emily Koch is a part of project S.H.I.N.E. - students helping in the naturalization of elders.

"We were kind of inspired by our students - meeting with refugees and seeing what their life is like and what topics might be necessary for them to understand," Koch said.

When it comes to teaching through a number of different language barriers, Koch said students use other forms of communication.

"We use a lot of visuals, we use a lot of actions, we like to have examples of things, for them to see and touch and feel so they can recognize this as part of their life," Koch said. "The language barrier makes it difficult, but it also makes it fun, just to see how different people from different cultures, and different languages can still come together ."

Students from the Utica College Gerontology Society, and physical therapy students also partnered to put on the presentations.

Not only did refugees walk away from Wednesday's health fair with everyday health knowledge, MetLife also donated healthy snacks and goods to the program.

The health fair is an annual event, but every year, new topics are presented and teachers put together their own lesson plans.

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