NorthShore Health Centers Celebrates National Health Center Week with Parties for Patients

NorthShore Health Centers hosted two special events to celebrate National Health Center Week. The Patient Appreciation Health and Fun Fairs took place first at their Lake Station location on August 11, 2015, and the next was two days later, August 13, 2015, at their Portage location.

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"This is a community event that we provide for our patients, neighbors, family, and friends," Olga Velazquez, Site Director and Safety Officer for NorthShore Health Centers said. "We have some wonderful things planned for everyone and hope that they all have a good time."

National Health Center Week celebrates the services and contributions of the special centers that focus on public housing, community, migrancy, and homelessness. For the last 30 years, the second week in August is dedicated to these hard-working entities.

“We wanted to say thanks to all of our patients,” Denise Carpenter, Lead Community Outreach Coordinator for Porter County at NorthShore Health Centers said in regards to the Health and Fun Fairs. “We wouldn’t have our centers without them.”

This year’s theme is: Celebrating Our Legacy, Shaping Our Future. According to, one in every 15 people in the United States depend on the services of a health center. Health centers provide affordable care to anyone regardless of age, gender, or race, and they have been doing so for the last 50 years.

"We want to reach Lake and Porter County residents so that's why we had two fairs," Jodi Ortiz, Site Director for NorthShore's Lake Station facility and Manager of the Inreach and Scheduling Department said. "With locations in Chesterton, two here in Portage, Hammond, Merrillville, and Lake Station, we wanted to be able to reach as many people in the community as possible. Today is about having fun and giving back to our patients."

The event had lots to do. There were bounce houses and a DJ playing lively music, free health screenings, massages, food from Culver’s, Subway, and McDonald’s, and more! Kids could get their faces painted, they played games, entered raffles, and some won free backpacks filled with school supplies! The Lake Station Fire and Rescue had their truck onsite for tours, a certain book-loving Disney character made an appearance, and there was gently used infant and children’s clothing available.

At the Portage Scottsdale location, similar vendors and activities were available, with the addition of special train rides from Canadian International and the Portage Fire Department as well as the South Haven Fire Department were present.

“When you think about health in general it encompasses everything; housing, educational needs, medical needs, anything that a person would need to lead a healthy lifestyle,” Gervay Dickerson, Outreach Coordinator and Event Lead Coordinator said. “Health has a lot to do with our bodies but also it has a lot to do with our environment so we wanted to have this event to have some fun with our patients, share a bit about our programs with them, and find out what their wants and needs for their families.”

"I've been coming to NorthShore for about five years," Marsha Moore, Portage resident and patient of NorthShore said. "I've brought people to NorthShore and my church partners with them for events. The minute I walked into NorthShore and told them my situation they welcomed me with open arms and treated me with respect and dignity. They walked me through all of the steps that I needed to take were extremely helpful... It means a lot."

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