Businesses, Organizations Team Up to Offer Free Physicals
Dozens of children will receive free physicals so they can start school on time.
On Saturday, dozens of uninsured children will get free physicals at the tenth annual Back to School Physicals Clinic at the South County Center.
Co-coordinator Katy Fike started the free clinic with Bonnie Lilley in 2002. Lilley worked at a similar program in Springfield, and in 2002, they decided the Route 1 corridor should also make these clinics available to uninsured children. Ten years later, the clinics are still going strong, with between 125 and 150 children registered each year.
The Back to School Physicals Clinics would not be able to operate without the support of volunteers and community sponsors.
“We engage as many volunteers as we can,” Fike said. “It’s a community effort.”
The Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce, the Mount Vernon-Lee 501(c)3 Education Foundation, INOVA Health System, the Partnership for Healthier Kids, Fairfax County Health Department, and Fort Belvoir have all joined to provide free physicals and immunizations for these children so they can start school on time. The Partnership for Healthier Kids also provides families with health care services they may be eligible to receive. The National Association of Physicians’ Assistants donates bike helmets for the kids to take home. Backpacks are also donated by the community for the kids to take home after their appointments.
“The most rewarding part is to see all the little kids’ faces when they come into the room [after their exams] and pick out their backpacks,” Fike said. “Their eyes get as big as saucers. They can pick out any one they want.”