El Día del Niño at the Ventanillas de Salud Provides Fun, Education, & Health Access for Local Texas Communities
On a warm Saturday morning, dozens of families joined the Austin Ventanilla de Salud to celebrate El Día del Niño, a celebration that originated in Mexico and dates back to 1925, celebrating and promoting children and their wellbeing. Children as young as two walked through the doors of the Consulate General of Mexico in Austin to join the day’s festivities that included free books, snacks, gifts, and the chance to win a bike through raffles. As soon as families walked in, children were greeted and asked to spin the wheel for a prize, while parents were given the opportunity to sign up for a free kidney test with the National Kidney Foundation. “We decided to offer free kidney tests to the parents because of the stark reality that 33% of adults in the US are at risk for kidney disease and within that 33% percent, our Hispanic community is at a higher risk of developing it,” explained Roxana Pineda, MPH, Ventanilla de Salud Coordinator and Health Network Associate with Migrant Clinicians Network. This event, which allowed for 120 adults to get tested, also offered other free services such as blood pressure tests, body mass index tests and information on available medical services in the community. This celebration was made possible by the generous donations and contributions of local partners which include the National Kidney Foundation, US Hispanic Contractors Association, Austin Police Department, La Raza 95.1 FM, United Healthcare, Austin Public Library, The University of Texas of Austin, Dell Medical School, 9-1-1, Sustainable Food Center, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Bookspring, and Central Health.
MCN's Jessica Calderón cuts hair for donation to Project Rapunzel.
The American Library Association recognizes El Día del Niño as a “national initiative that emphasizes the importance of literacy for all children from all backgrounds,” which comes to no surprise as to why Mirtala Barrón, Ventanilla de Salud Coordinator, over at Eagle Pass, Texas, partnered with the Eagle Pass Public Library to create “Dia Del Niño, Dia del Libro.” According to Barrón, the purpose of the event was to celebrate children, promote literacy and physical activity. With the help of local partners like Maverick County Hospital, AHEC, MHP Salud, UMC, Dental Quest, and Southwest Texas Eye Care, over 700 families enjoyed a day filled with games, prizes, and reading activities, plus 20 lucky children were able to go home with a brand-new bike. Keeping up with the theme of literacy, Marizza Patiño, Ventanilla de Salud Coordinator at the Mexican Consulate in Del Rio, Texas, in partnership with La Casa de La Cultura, El Comité Cultural del Pueblo, Inc., also held educational activities for children on their Día del Niño celebrations. Children were able to learn the importance of financial literacy and the power of saving money while painting and decorating piggy banks. “The event was a great success. Even older children where excited to join the fun of decorating their own piggy bank,” explained Patiño, who also gave lessons to the participants on how to properly wash their hands and the importance of knowing how to do so.
Each Ventanilla approached the holiday in a different manner, bringing in local sponsors and partners. However, as with all Ventanilla outreach events, the health needs of their specific communities are given priority, and education and health access to improve the community’s health and wellbeing are always at the center.
The Ventanilla de Salud is a network of health outreach programs operating out of each of the Mexican Consulates in the US; MCN is the fiscal agent for the Ventanillas in Austin, Del Rio, and Eagle Pass, Texas. You can learn more about MCN’s partnership with the Ventanillas on our Ventanilla de Salud page. We welcome our readers to visit their prospective Facebook pages to learn more about other upcoming events: