Portage women get pampered, discuss health issues at fair

Liz Laubscher

Kateline Cooper, age 8, receives a massage from Sandi Melucci, the junior cosmetology instructor at the Women’s Health Fair at Theodore Roosevelt High School. Abra Williams-Witzky | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

Townhall II’s women’s health fair at Theodore Roosevelt High School was an all-girl’s day out Saturday.

Kent State had displays from the Office of Health Promotion and the Women’s Resource Center at the event, which promoted health, wellness and general awareness to females in Portage County. Groups of students from professor Cynthia Symons’ methods and applications of health education class gave demonstrations that corresponded with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s main areas of concern.

Kayleigh Gonzalez, senior community health major, was part of Symons’ unintentional injury and violence prevention group and gave a demonstration on self defense. Gonzalez explained what females should do to be safe, especially while out after dark. She recommended females be alert and aware of their surroundings and walk with someone rather than alone.

“You need to walk with confidence,” Gonzalez said. “The more confident you appear to be, the less vulnerable you will appear to be.”

Three women from Symons’ class focused their demonstration on the negative body image the media and society can contribute to in females.

Colleen Brady, senior school health education major, Stephanie Toth, senior physical education and health education major, and Amanda Raines, senior community health major, made a life-size Barbie from pantyhose and pillows. Brady said it was a way to give people a visualization of how distorted Barbie would be if she were a real person.

“Young females need to stay away from these images and how the media tells them to be,” Toth said. “They need to see good positive body images.”

Raines said Barbie’s body wouldn’t have enough room for all of the internal components needed to survive.

“(Barbie) could only have a trachea or an esophagus in her throat,” Raines said. “And she would either have to have the radius or ulna in her arms and either the tibia or fibula in her legs.”

Kathy Schumann, sophomore community health major, promoted tobacco prevention and control. She discussed health problems, saying for every year someone smokes, a cup of tar develops in their lungs. She also talked about how much money someone wastes smoking.

“If you smoke a pack a day,” Schumann said, “by the end of one year you could have paid three mortgage payments or three rent payments with the money spent on cigarettes.”

Schumann’s group gave a demonstration showing what emphysema feels like. Participants held their noses while breathing through drinking straws for 30 seconds.

Payal Patel, a senior from Theodore Roosevelt, and her mother Dipika Patel, couldn’t believe how difficult it was to breathe during the demonstration and both said they were glad they don’t smoke.

The part of the health fair the Patels found most beneficial, however, was a workshop promoting healthy eating and exercise habits for young people, given by Cynthia Bennett, nurse practitioner and certified athletic trainer from Akron Children’s Hospital.

“I want to get myself to (eat healthy and exercise),” Payal said. “I need to make a schedule or I may never do it.”

Dipika said she would also like to develop better eating habits and exercise regularly. Payal said she would like to work on that goal too, to give her mother support, which the workshop suggested.

Gynecologist Cynthia Morris presented a workshop about the Human Papilloma Virus and how it can be spread. She also discussed the importance of the vaccination.

However, the aspect that created the most buzz was the free pampering given by the Theodore Roosevelt junior cosmetology class. Nine students gave facials, manicures, paraffin wax dips and massages.

Melissa Satyshur, sexual assault prevention specialist for Townhall II and organizer for the event, said about 200 people participated. She said she was pleased with the turnout and hoped everyone enjoyed the health fair and learned a lot of resourceful information.

Eight local organizations, including Planned Parenthood, the Mental Health and Recovery Board, Help Me Grow and Mary Kay Cosmetics, presented informational displays.

Contact social services reporter Liz Laubscher at [email protected].