As kids throughout Colorado return to school this week, Colorado’s Community Health Centers (CHCs) have been doing their part to ensure that children and families are prepared for the school year!
On August 17, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) Stout Street Clinic hosted a Back-to-School Healthy Kids Fair in preparation for the upcoming school year. CCH recognizes that children living in shelters, motels and transitional housing have special needs before returning to school. Their Health Fair event provided an opportunity for these students to receive immunizations, dental care, hearing and eye exams, health education, and backpacks filled with school supplies before returning to school. CCH’s services have allowed families to feel confident that their students will be able to perform their best this year!
Mountain Family Health Centers (Mountain Family), Peak Vista Community Health Centers (Peak Vista), and Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurses Association (NWCOVNA) are among the other CHCs that also provided special services for families with children returning to school. Mountain Family offered discounted well child checks to their uninsured patients, including all needed vaccines, and supplied parents with a back to school checklist to make sure their children had all of their health needs met before the school year began. Peak Vista recognizes that supporting their patients and community means providing immunizations and more; they also gave out backpacks and school supplies to children preparing to go to school. NWCOVNA provided frequent low-cost immunization clinics for children throughout the summer, so students could access the immunizations they need, regardless of insurance. These additional services help underserved youth overcome health, social and financial barriers to successful education.
In addition to providing back-to-school services, 8 CHCs run 34 School-Based health centers (SBHCs) throughout the state. These clinic sites are located within schools, and offer primary medical, behavioral health, and dental services to students and their families. SBHCs reduce absenteeism, improve coordination of care, and increase early and periodic health screenings. SBHCs also promote access to health care for youth who face age, financial, cultural, geographic, and transportation barriers to accessing services. SBHCs help ensure that students returning to school this month will have their health needs met in a convenient and comprehensive way.
Back-to-school and in school services allow CHC staff a chance to truly interact with their community and to recognize the special needs of underserved youth. Working for a CHC, and especially in a SBHC, is a gratifying, mission driven experience. If you are interested in joining a team at one of these CHCs, check out the CHAMPS job board. Or, to learn more about Colorado’s 18 CHCs, including the 34 SBHCs, visit https://www.cchn.org.