Make us your home page
Instagram

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.

KIM WILMATH | Times

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.

RUSKIN

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 [email protected] 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

Loading...
  1. Florida education news: Lawsuits, lawyers, school board pay and more

    Blogs

    IN COURT: A former Hillsborough County school district top administrator sues the School Board and its chief of staff, alleging board member corruption and …

    Hillsborough School Board member Susan Valdes is the subject of several allegations in a former employee's scathing lawsuit.
  2. Clearwater eyes hiring new downtown director within two months

    CLEARWATER — Now that the city director tasked with revitalizing downtown has resigned after his arrest on a battery charge during Oktoberfest, City Manager Bill Horne said the goal is to not leave the position vacant long.

    Clearwater Assistant City Manager  Micah Maxwell will oversee downtown until the city hires a replacement for Seth Taylor.
  3. Tampa Bay's Top 100 Workplaces deadline extended to Nov. 17

    Business

    Think you work at one of the best places in Tampa Bay? You've got a little more time to make a pitch.

    Penny Hoarder and Gregory, Sharer & Stuart were among those at an event in Tampa last May honoring winners of the Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces awards. Nominations are now open for this year.  
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Little separates McElwain and Muschamp eras of futility at Florida

    College

     Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain watches the second quarter of the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville.
  5. Tampa-based Checkers testing delivery, aims for record expansion

    Retail

    TAMPA — Tampa-based Checkers Drive-In Restaurants continues to fly under the radar compared to dominant burger chains like McDonald's and Burger King.

    Checkers Franchisee Shaji Joseph, of Tampa, hoses down the front walkway of his store at 6401 Park Boulevard, Pinellas Park. The business has a new look including signage and exterior tile. One drive through has been eliminated for an outdoor dining area, right. Joseph owns nine Checkers and is planning to open his tenth in Tampa.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times ]