KidCheck Plus provides vital services for kids

Published 10:52 am Tuesday, November 19, 2013

By CAM WARD / Guest Columnist

Last week I had the privilege of visiting three schools in Bibb County for free health screenings that were staffed by KidCheckPlus, affiliated with Sight Savers America. Headquartered in Pelham, this vital program is provided to schools free of charge, via donations and volunteer hours by nursing students from around the state.

I saw their operation first hand, serving children of all ages at several Bibb County schools. The KidCheck volunteers screened more than 1,500 kids for overall health indicators such as height and weight, BMI, temperature, blood pressure, vision, dental, hearing, heart and lung sounds and heart and respiratory rates, among others.

The Bibb County School System began these health screenings in 1996, and was the first school system in the state to make head-to-toe health screenings an annual part of its school year.

KidCheck Plus began in 2008 as a way to expand school-based health screenings across Alabama using the model approach that had been highly successful in the Bibb and Blount County schools for more than a decade.

Programs like these are conceived out of need, funded through the kindness of regular folks and the community spirit of local companies, and staffed through ingenuity by students who need the experience.

They fill a vital role in our community’s health. They have the added benefit of not burdening citizens with overhead, bureaucracy and taxes, while saving government funds for other uses. They are a model for the future, and will become more important as we continue to reexamine the types of services government provides.

The health and welfare of our young people is important to the state for so many reasons. Children are our future, and how we treat them says much about our society and our morals. I am proud to represent an area that founded a program like this, and proud of them for their continued work and expansion of their scope through the years.

Cam Ward is a state senator from Alabaster.