Nicole Knight said she brought her children to the holiday fair “to get blessed.” The 26-year old mother of four said the free toys being provided at the Jessie Trice Community Health Center at the agency’s 11th annual Santa’s Workshop would be a big help because of “what I can’t buy for my kids.”
Knight lives near the center and attends the event yearly.
Eleace Sawyers, vice president for planning and business development, said that members of the community are welcome to attend the center’s annual holiday community event; and as they enjoy the festivities, she wants them to also learn more about the myriad services provided by the health center.
Sawyers said the organization provides a wide array of health services, including primary preventive health care, OB-GYN, pediatrics, health education and dental services.
“We have over 32 locations, we serve over 30,000 patients in any given year. We are growing and we’ve got more centers to come,” she said.
In addition to offering a substance abuse treatment program, the Trice Center also provides care for people living with HIV/AIDS, a Healthy Start program and mental health services.
“Our mission is to provide access to care. Our primary focus is to serve the uninsured and the underserved and anyone that wants to receive services from us. We’re a patient centered medical home and if you do need service and care and you don’t have a PCP (primary care physician), we’ll be happy to provide that service,” she said.
As she glanced at the parking lot bustling with families, Sawyers said she was hopeful that the number of people in attendance at this year’s event would exceed the 500 people that attended last year.
Juany Martinez said that she brought her children to the fair, “to have fun.” The stay-at-home mother of five said that she recently returned to Florida from New York and appreciates the supportive environment at the center; which she said she will visit soon to learn more about its services. She said a caseworker from the health center visited her at home to inform her of the event.
The not-for-profit organization boasts a multicultural, multilingual, and multidisciplinary staff that serves a diverse population of patients who make more than 120,000 visits annually. Considered a mainstay in the community, the Trice center is located on NW 22nd Avenue in Miami, diagonally across from another community stronghold, The Joseph Caleb Center.
Hosting the fair, complete with bounce houses, pony rides, food, entertainment, “snow” and Santa, is an opportunity, “To give back to the community. We provide primary medical services to the community and we’ve done that for the last 47 years,” Sawyers explained before joining staff to pass out toys.
“We don’t turn anyone away,” she said.