Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough kids get checkups, shots at back-to-school fair

Brian Carranza, 9, gets shots Saturday at the back-to-school fair at the HCC SouthShore campus in Ruskin. Kids got checkups, dental screenings, free backpacks, school supplies and shoes.


Brian Carranza, 9, gets shots Saturday at the back-to-school fair at the HCC SouthShore campus in Ruskin. Kids got checkups, dental screenings, free backpacks, school supplies and shoes.


Six-year-old Milsarid Rodriguez sat with her head in her hands. Not crying, not yet.

But soon, Milsarid's wails rang out of the small room at the Hillsborough Community College SouthShore campus in Ruskin after a nurse gave her two shots needed before starting second grade.

When it was over, Milsarid's 5-year-old brother Ricardo clapped his hands. Milsarid didn't exactly smile, but at least the crying stopped.

The Rodriguez kids were two of hundreds who came to the county's back-to-school fair Saturday in Ruskin. The effort, organized by the Back-to-School Coalition of Hillsborough County, includes members of the county's Health and Social Services departments, local chambers of commerce, volunteer organization and faith-based groups.

In addition to immunizations, students received physicals, dental screenings, free backpacks, school supplies, shoes, socks and underwear.

Eris Williams, 27, who brought her 5-year-old daughter, Leila Steelman, for a checkup, said she was grateful for the free services.

Williams' other daughter, 3-month-old Lisa, has been in intensive care for blocked bowels since birth. Williams' husband, who works in construction, struggles to find work in the slumped housing market.

The family, from Melbourne, is staying at the Ronald McDonald House near St. Joseph's Hospital. In a couple of weeks, Leila will start kindergarten at the nearby Gorrie Elementary.

"This is really, really nice," Williams said of the fair. "I know it helps a lot of people."

• • •

At the shoe-and-sock giveaway station, 12-year-old Jonathan Wenzel showed off his new camouflage-patterned backpack. He picked that design in honor of his 3-year-old brother, Cameron, whose nickname is Camo.

"He's having a great day," said his mom, Lori Wenzel.

Wenzel said it was a relief not to worry about buying school supplies. "Especially the way income is, nowadays," she said.

She said her husband, John, works as a foreman for a commercial refrigeration company, and she stays at home with Cameron to save on day care.

Jonathan Wenzel only needed one shot, but "he was pretty brave," his mom said.

"It was horrible!" disputed Jonathan.

At least one kid didn't seem bothered by the shots. Five-year-old Daniel Exiga, who is about to start kindergarten, gave his mom, Maria Exiga, a toothy smile as she marched him over to the immunization station.

Was he scared? "No," he grinned. He bounced in his chair as a nurse filled up her syringe. His mom put her arm around him. He kept smiling.

Then came the prick. And the wince. And the tears.

"Awww, it's okay. It's over," Maria Exiga told little Daniel.

He looked at his arm, back at his mom, and went right back to smiling.

Kim Wilmath can be reached at or (813) 661-2442.

Hillsborough kids get checkups, shots at back-to-school fair 08/14/10 [Last modified: Saturday, August 14, 2010 8:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  2. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick Friday night in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  5. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101