11UmojaFestThe Umoja Group, Inc. presents its 2017 Umoja Festival Saturday, Aug. 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Seabrook Park and Recreation Center. The festivities will begin with a health-focused morning.   

“This year we are really concerned about the health of our citizens in Broadell Homes (and the) community, and we are trying to get more men involved in taking care of their health,” said Dorothy Fielder, co-founder of the Umoja Group, Inc. “Men seem to need more encouragement to make changes that would benefit their health and well-being. ... Our theme this year is ‘heritage, culture, family, community and well-being,’ and every year we seem to save the life of someone in the neighborhood that has never been screened.” Fielder added that almost every year there is a patient, homeless person or uninsured person who has never seen a doctor and has high blood pressure. Arrangements are made to immediately take the person to the hospital for treatment.

“We are going to start off with a tennis class at Fayetteville State around 8:30 a.m.,” Fielder said. “The community health fair will begin at 10 a.m.”

The health fair will last from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and prioritizes prevention and early detection screenings. Darvin Jones, a leader in Cape Fear Valley Health System’s “Take Charge of Your Health” initiative, will be in charge. “He has all kinds of screenings and testing that he brings, along with 25 social and health agencies to share their information with the people in the community,” Fielder said. She added that this is the largest health clinic and screening brought to any neighborhood and that Umoja Group, Inc. appreciates Cape Fear Valley Health for giving the group this opportunity. This is the seventh year the Umoja Festival has featured a health fair.

This year, Fielder reached out to local churches for support. Many offered the use of church vans to transport people to appointments at the health fair clinic. “Individuals will set up appointments to
meet with the doctor so the van can pick them up and take them to the appointment,” Fielder said. “The festival is so well-attended that sometimes it is difficult to get a parking space, so this is a way to relieve it.”     

After the health fair there will be entertainment and educational activities from 12 to 7 p.m. Activities include storytellers from the North Carolina Association of Black Storytellers; children’s art projects and children’s books; games; small giveaways; Tony McMillan’s Old School Band; Tokay Rockers; dancers; drummers; children’s performances; jewelry and food vendors; Stewardship Classical Car Club; Chrome Knights Motorcycle Group; E. E. Smith and FSU bands; E. E. Smith’s Smith 16; and a few politicians who will speak to the community.

“The NAACP will be there to sign up voters,” Fielder said.  “There will be ethnic food vendors and the famous collard green sandwich that every-body likes.”

The event is free and open to the public. Donations are appreciated.  For more information, call (910) 485-8035 or email umojagroupfay@gmail.com.

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