Published April 6, 2022
University of Louisiana Monroe students and faculty in the College of Health Sciences
partnered with the Children’s Coalition of Northeast Louisiana to present “Stepping
into a Healthy Spring” on March 19, 2022. The family event mixed fun with education
on healthy lifestyles.
The University of Louisiana Monroe College of Health Sciences joined with the Children’s
Coalition of Northeast Louisiana to organize a community outreach event, “Stepping
into a Healthy Spring.”
The event was Saturday, March 19, 2022, at the Origin Bank Family Garden with 28 students
from ULM’s Dental Hygiene, Radiologic Technology, Nursing, Speech-Language Pathology,
Medical Laboratory Science, and Occupational Therapy Assistant programs.
Kim Whorton, Associate Professor of Dental Hygiene and School of Allied Health Student
Community Event Liaison, organized the community outreach event with Cindy George,
Volunteer Coordinator at the Children’s Coalition.
“I am so proud of what we accomplished. We asked for volunteers with creative ideas
and activities, and we received so much more,” said Whorton. “Our ULM students worked
very hard to provide important information in such a fun way. We succeeded in making
a difference in our community.”
Each program planned activities that enhanced parents’ and children’s knowledge about
University of Louisiana Monroe College of Health Sciences students and faculty volunteering
at the Children’s Coalition of Northeast Louisiana for the “Stepping into a Healthy
Spring” event March 19. ULM and the Children’s Coalition partnered to organize the
event for parents and children. Pictured from left are Dental Hygiene students Meg
Grafton and Megan Gernon, Dr. Jessica Dolecheck, Program Director of Health Studies,
Dental Hygiene Associate Professor Kim Whorton, and students Lauren Theall, and Shelby
Occupational Therapy Assistant students and Program Director Jennifer Perodeau engaged
the children in “Yoga for Health” to show yoga exercises for keeping the body flexible
Not only did the kids have fun, but Malynda Magee, a senior Occupational Therapy Assistant
student, said it was an impactful experience.
“I was honored to be a part of such a great event for our community and our children.
The children really had a great time, all while learning and growing. Little hidden
gems like the Monroe Community Garden are what makes Monroe such a beautiful place
to live,” Magee said.
Medical Laboratory Science students educated the kids on the importance of proper
hand-washing. They had the children apply a lotion that “glittered” under UV light
to help visualize the remaining “glitter” as poor hand washing. The children were
surprised by the parts of their hands scrubbed ineffectively.
Caroline Streeter, a junior Medical Laboratory Science student, said, “It was fun
to see all the children at the event and to help them understand how many germs can
be on their hands.”
The Speech-Language Pathology students presented a “Toss and Blend Plastic Cups” activity
for the kids to understand different sounds and letter blends. Radiologic Technology
students gave “bones” sheets for the kids to recognize the skeletal system through
coloring and diagrams.
Dental Hygiene students provided a “Corn Hole Board” game with baskets of “good” versus
“bad” snacks to explain the effects of sugar and cavities on teeth.
Senior Dental Hygiene student Shelby Rehms had a great time teaching the children.
“I really enjoyed getting to educate our community on what foods are healthy for their
teeth,” Rehms said.
Nursing students shared a “Healthy Habits for Healthy Kids Rainbow” activity allowing
the kids to choose healthy foods and snacks from a coloring guide filled with fruits,
vegetables, grains and proteins, and dairy to “eat a rainbow.”
University of Louisiana Monroe College of Health Sciences Medical Laboratory Science
students teach youngsters about hand-washing at the “Stepping into a Health Spring”
family event in March. ULM and the Children’s Coalition of Northeast Louisiana partnered
to organize the event focusing on healthy living. Pictured, from left, are Karsen
McBroom, Grace Streeter, Zoe Coleman, and Lyssa Troxell-Caad.
Donald Simpson, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Health Sciences, commended Whorton and
all College of Health Sciences volunteers on their community outreach.
“We view these outreach efforts as a mutual exchange of knowledge and resources. This
event demonstrates the substance of President Jimmy Carter’s quote about getting back
more than what’s given,” said Simpson. “The service provided by Ms. Whorton and the
College of Health Sciences team was carried out in a spirit of partnership, inclusiveness,
Like Simpson, Jessica Dolecheck, Ph.D., Program Director of Health Studies and chair
of the SOAH Student Community Involvement Committee, was proud of the students’ accomplishments
and willingness to learn leadership skills.
“When our Health Science students get involved in community service, they develop
empathy and leadership skills and realize how their actions can have a positive impact,”
said Dolecheck. “Our students got to interact with parents and children with vastly
different backgrounds while learning patience and compassion along with their capacity
to serve others.”
Through meaningful partnerships and community outreach, the ULM Health Sciences students
and faculty learn the value of giving back and how their actions can positively impact
the people we serve.