A healthcare caravan will roll into the Park District of Forest Park July 14 as part of a village-wide effort to provide medical and dental care for under- and un-insured kids, and to promote healthy living.

The Ronald McDonald Clinic and the Smiles Programs dentists will be on hand to offer kids a number of free medical and dental exams throughout the day. What’s more, there will be police officers providing bike safety tips, and the park is going to teach a pool safety course, according to Diane Dormeyer, the health and services coordinator for District 91 schools, and an event organizer.

This is the second year that the park has hosted the health fare, but the Ronald McDonald Mobile Clinic has frequented Forest Park for a number of years now, Dormeyer said. In fact, the Ronald McDonald clinic, alone, this year, has been at the park district on Thursdays since June 30. It will continue that run until July 21.  

Kids who attend the health fare will receive physicals, immunizations, scoliosis exams, hearing and vision screenings, dental treatment and much more. There will also be healthy snacks available for kids who come out, and organizers see the event as a chance to teach parents and kids, alike, how to lead healthier lives.

“This year we’re doing things that will keep them active,” Dormeyer said. “We know that our kids don’t eat well and they don’t move enough.”

The community center, D91, and the park district all played a role in putting the event together and the costs for care will be picked up by the state’s subsidized All Kids healthcare program, and through Medicaid reimbursements.

“It’s a collaborative with the park district, the community center and the school district [D91],” Dormeyer said.  “We share the manpower, we share the financial support, and all three help purchase the items that we hand out.”

Children will not be turned away because of lack of resources, although the mobile clinics will only be there from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., and patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

Park Director Larry Piekarz lauded the doctors and nurses who will be lending their time to help out next week.

“If there’s one way we can help people then God bless ’em,” he said, in reference to the collaboration between the park and the doctors. “They really do a great service for our community.”