"There were over a hundred people outside in our schoolyard that day, even grandparents with their babies," said Isabel Pereiras, parent liaison and coordinator of the Health Fair.
During the fair, residents had the chance to interact with specially invited representatives of the county and city, including Commissioner Margie Bombino and Superintendent of Schools Stanley Sanger. Guests also had the opportunity to take advantage of free health screenings provided by the North Hudson Community Action Corporation, and informational services and assistance from groups like the American Red Cross and the Hudson County Improvement Authority.
Henry Hudson School's annual fair brings an immense amount of resources in the hopes to offer better health care, education and cooperation between the school and the community.
"We are trying to empower the community and have them see what's available to them," said Pereiras. "We have such great parents here at Hudson School and they're very active and involved, so we want to reach out to them and show them what [aid] is at their disposal."
The fair had a series of presenters from educational and health organizations from all around Hudson County, such as Partners in Prevention, Horizon/Mercy, NJ Family Care, the Liberty Science Center, Hudson County One Stop Career Center, and the D.A.R.E/G.R.E.A.T. program, among many others.
"NY Life came to show the community how to save money for your child's future, and insurance companies came in with applications and bilingual presenters," said Pereiras. "We feel an educated community means educated kids and a better future for the city."
This year, Henry Hudson School had more presenters than ever with new organizations that joined like the Liberty Science Center, which seemed to be the favorite among the kids. Representatives of the Center brought exhibits and experiments for the kids to participate in, as well as some joint activities involving the parents.
"We've been doing the fair for about eight years, and it's definitely gotten better every year," said Pereiras. "We started getting calls in July from companies who wanted to make donations, and we had calls from representatives that wanted to participate."
Other organizations like the Bank of New York gave a crash course in saving money, and tips on how to run finances. The DARE Program officers gave the guests lessons in CPR, and the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) was on hand to inform the public about becoming foster parents to the many needy children in Hudson County.
"DYFS came with information about what is needed to foster some of these children," said Pereiras. "In the past, we have had many families from Henry Hudson School that have been accepted as foster parents."
Hudson School also received donations of gift certificates and gift baskets courtesy of their Commerce Partners in Education, which include Coach House in North Bergen and Outback Steak House in Secaucus. The gift baskets were donated by Zoe Constantinides, Maura Diaz, L. Molinari, and Angel England.
"They gave us gift certificates and baskets, which we used as a free raffle for the people at the fair," said Pereiras. "Once they signed in they were automatically entered into the drawing."
Among some of the other prizes raffled off were toys, a portable TV, and different kitchen appliances. Jessica Rosero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org sidebar Beyond Union City
In addition to their community work, Henry Hudson School has been a strong supporter of St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Tennessee, which specializes in children's cancer treatment and research. Each year, the school sends donations by participating in the hospital's annual worldwide Math-a-Thon.
"We're the school with heart," said Pereiras. "The donations [from pledges] are collected here and sent to the hospital."
The hospital then sends booklets for the children to participate in the math-a-thon, and the donations to the hospital are given in memory of Stan Constantinides.
"My son was also a student here when he was young; I do this in memory of him and I will continue to do this as long as I am here," said Zoe Constantinidies, who began the math-a-thon at Hudson School.
Participating since the 1995-1996 school year, Henry Hudson School has donated over $27,000 to St. Jude's Hospital. The hospital also has had 18 kids from Hudson County as patients, including a student from Edison School that went last year.
The school's goal is exceed $30,000 for the hospital.