As childhood obesity tightens its grip and soars to epidemic proportions nationwide, Tiah E. McKinney is fighting back with staunch support from concerned citizens and generous corporate sponsors.
The Detroit native, founder of The McKinney Foundation, held her organization’s fourth annual Celebrating a Healthier Detroit expo on Belle Isle August 10. Themed Eliminating Childhood Obesity through Education, Awareness & Access, the free daylong celebration was a testament to the positive influence a community generates when banning together.
Offering an array of seminars, screenings, immunizations, exhibits, and informative speakers targeting health and wellness topics and issues that impact families and communities in Detroit, the expo also featured give-a-ways, prizes, a DJ, musicians, dancing and food. “We are committed to reducing health disparities in metro Detroit by bringing together the greater health and wellness communities to educate families and to share programs that are free and accessible to metro Detroit residents, especially those who are uninsured or under-insured,” said McKinney.
McKinney was sponsored in her efforts by the Black United Fund of Michigan (BUF), Lafayette Foods, IBM, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Detroit Children’s Hospital, Detroit Medical Center, Detroit Pistons, the UAW, Grace Family Health Centers and Walgreens. TMG Dental Services provided free teeth cleanings and sealants.
Sixty-five health-related exhibitors were also on hand including Canton resident Judy Farmer, owner of greatpilatesnow.com, with an energetic main stage exercise demonstration that got the children in attendance moving. A master at networking, McKinney found Farmer through the Walsh College Blackstone LaunchPad entrepreneurial program. “I’m a graduate of the University of Miami where the Launch Pad program first started. I called Walsh College Blackstone LaunchPad Director Carol Glynn and she immediately put me in touch with Judy whose dedicated efforts to combat childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes were a perfect fit.”
Looking ahead, McKinney is hoping to continue her efforts with the support of current sponsors and exhibitors and plans to reach out into the community for expanded support. “By working together we can educate our neighbors and help our communities prosper,” said McKinney.