Volpicelli Organizes Health Fair

By SUE PASCOE

Editor

 

19-Ellie Volpicelli + girlEllie Volpicelli has co-founded a USC student-run organization, Family A-Fair, which offers comprehensive health services and education resources to the underserved.

The Pacific Palisades resident organized the group’s first Community Health Fair, which was held on April 24 at the St. Raphael School, four miles south of USC’s University Park campus.

“The goal of the health fair was to spread health awareness and to connect community members to nonprofits and community organizations which are health-related,” said Volpicelli, a premed student. She is currently in a post-baccalaureate program that allows students to take extra science courses to prepare for the MCAT, the test needed for entrance into medical school.

Volpicelli, who attended Corpus Christi and Marymount, said that the health fair reached about 500 people.

“Ninety percent of St. Raphael’s student population is at or below the poverty line, which is why this fair was so important,” Volpicelli said. “We reached out to people who are uninsured, underinsured or don’t have access to adequate care.”

The event included free health screenings for blood pressure, blood glucose, body-mass index, vision exams, dental exams and health-care enrollment options.

The need for fitness and wellness education were emphasized through exercise classes, mental health services and cooking and nutrition classes.

Free activities included face painting and helping students conduct science experiments. Attendees were given free haircuts and reading glasses.

St. Raphael High School Principal Barbara Curtis said, “Events like these raise awareness and they’re great for parents and kids.”

Co-founder David Velasquez, a junior studying human biology, says that the name of the organization, Family A-Fair, was created to emphasize the family connection.

Another co-founder, Jackie Schwerdt, who is also a post-baccalaureate pre-med student, organized the funding for this fair, which was obtained outside of the University, through sources such as Whole Foods and St. Raphael School. The group hopes to get internal USC funding for the next fair, which they are already planning for this fall.

Volpicelli is the daughter of Dr. Louis and Melisa Volpicelli. She has a sister, Lexi, who completed her sophomore year at NYU.

 

Ellie Volpicelli and a St. Raphael parish member.

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