NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is helping area youngsters get a “healthy start” back to school.
The university will partner with several organizations on Saturday, July 29, to sponsor the 5th annual Love’s Healthy Start Festival at Hadley Park from 9 a.m. to noon.
The event, which is open to the public, was started by State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., whose district includes TSU.
One thousand youngsters will receive free backpacks and school supplies at the festival, which will also focus on health and education, as well as provide free food and live entertainment, Love said.
“Love’s Healthy Start Festival is more than a back to school event,” he said. “It is designed to give the entire family an opportunity to start the school year off right.”
Health screenings and dental exams will be available for youth and adults.
Leon Roberts is coordinator of clinics for TSU’s Department of Dental Hygiene. He said representatives from the department will be at the festival to discuss the benefits of good hygiene, as well as talk about the university’s Dental Hygiene Clinic.
The clinic provides service to nearly 600 patients a year, including students as well as the Nashville community.
“A lot of dental diseases can be easily prevented by brushing and flossing properly, and visiting the dentist at least twice a year,” Roberts said. “We plan to give people a quick demonstration on how to brush and floss properly, but also let them know about the clinic.”
Other TSU participation will include the university’s Ralph H. Boston Wellness Center, which offers a range of sports, recreation and fitness activities for students, faculty, staff and alumni.
“We want the community to know the importance of health and wellness; taking care of yourself,” said Jerry Davis, Wellness Center director. “We also want to let people know what we do, as well as look to partner with outside agencies.”
Love said the festival will also feature literacy and financial education programs. For instance, he said the festival is partnering with Book’em, a nonprofit organization, to provide 1,000 free books to youngsters in grades K-12.
There will also be information about initiatives like Tennessee Promise, which provides eligible graduating high school seniors two years of free tuition at a community or technical college in Tennessee.
“We want parents to know about the opportunity their children have to get a free education,” Love said.
Other expected TSU festival participants include the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, and the Office of Enrollment Management.
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With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.