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SIUE Upward Bound programs partner for June 10 Community Health Fair in East St. Louis

Community Wellness Project, Illinois Community College Board to offer free testing and more   

Partnering to bring Community Health Fair 2023 to the Wyvetter H. Younger Higher Education Campus are (from left to right): Kevin Harris, CWP community health worker/harm reduction; Alicia Mitchom, CWP community health worker; Leonard (Gary) Cruise, WHYHEC director; and Christopher Cooper, SIUE East St. Louis Upward Bound (UB) program director. (SIUE photo)


“In stating the obvious, health and wellness is critically important for students, their families and the community,” said Christopher Cooper, program director for the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Center’s East St. Louis Upward Bound (UB) Programs.

This fundamental principle is why UB is collaborating with the Community Wellness Project (CWP) in East St. Louis, in conjunction with the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), to present Community Health Fair 2023 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 10 on the Wyvetter H. Younge Higher Education Campus (WHYHEC).

“Health, which includes mental health, is a major initiative in our programming,” added Cooper. “I am happy that Upward Bound can be a part of it.”

“We will provide free health information, health screenings, materials on educational services and more,” said Kevin Harris, CWP community health and harm reduction worker.

The fair includes:

  • Free HIV and STI testing
  • Free kidney screening
  • Children’s discounted haircuts
  • Food trucks
  • Snow cones
  • Bounce houses
  • Giveaways
  • Community service partners

“The objective of the fair is to encourage more involvement from the East St. Louis community,” said Leonard (Gary) Cruise, WHYHEC director. “We want to bring more awareness that the campus is here, and not just to educate in academics, but in healthcare, too, and allow the public to see the many other services available.”

More than 50 vendors, offering an array of services and products, will be on hand, according to Alicia Mitchom, CWP community health worker.

“For instance, if parents could see the many programs that are here that they can be certified through and get good paying jobs, they would be excited,” Cooper noted. “There is LPN, RN, construction, welding, electrical and dentistry instruction, and so much more.” 

Upward Bound (UB) programs help youth prepare for higher education and serves students from East St. Louis and Cahokia (EC), and Brooklyn, East St. Louis Charter and Madison (BEM) High Schools. Participants receive instruction in literature, composition and STEM subjects on college campuses after school, on Saturdays and during the summer. The quality services provided will prepare the students for successful high school completion and entrance into post-secondary programs. Upward Bound is a college-preparatory program designed to serve low-income and/or potential first-generation college students who are currently in grades 9-12. Upward Bound is part of the SIUE East St. Louis Center.

The Community Wellness Project (CWP) exist to promote community wellness through education, prevention, and resources to diverse cultural and racial minorities who are under-served and under-represented in the United States and its associate territories. Our targeted populations include low-income minority individuals, many of whom live below the poverty level and have limited skills. Clients of The Community Wellness Project benefit from our culturally specific, culturally sensitive, and client centered approach to service delivery.

The Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) In 1965, the Illinois General Assembly established the Illinois Community College Board to create a system of public community colleges that would be within easy reach of every resident. More than 50 years later, the Illinois Community College System covers the entire state with 48 colleges and one multi-community college center in 39 community college districts. Community colleges serve nearly one million Illinois residents each year in credit and noncredit courses and many more through their public service programs.

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