Dorri Partain 
Assistant Editor 

Having fun and creating health-resource opportunities remained the focus of the June 8 Wellness Block Party at the North-East Branch Library. This  event was hosted by Our Healthy Jackson County, Independence Plaza Neighborhood Council and Indian Mound Neighborhood Association.

Photo by Dorri Partain

Inside the library, representatives from various health organizations — namely University Health, Children’s Mercy Hospital and UMKC (University of Missouri-Kansas City) offered screenings for attendees — including blood pressure, blood sugar and cancer. Free vaccinations for Covid-19 and HPV (human papillomavirus) were available, along with smoking cessation and mental health consultations.

Participants could also enjoy a free lunch  from Taqueria 3 Hermanos and other incentives by completing surveys and notating which screenings and vaccinations they had completed.

The library’s parking lot had additional opportunities to enjoy musical performances by local guitarist Beau Bledsoe with cellist Ezgi Karakus, and South American folk songs by Pedro Calderon and Amado Espinoza, while meeting representatives from the hosting neighborhoods, and selecting free fruits and vegetables from Kanbe’s Market.

Photo by Dorri Partain

Comic book character, Harley Quinn, whipped up balloon animals, while Wonder Woman and Spiderman were ready to pose with fans as giant bubbles floated across the parking lot. 

Missy Jones, treasurer with Indian Mound Neighborhood Association, said she was pleased with the turnout.

“Our goal for this event was around 100, and our sign-in sheets totaled 93. One of the doctors on-site said our event had the best attendance so far,” Jones said.

The planning committee summed up hosting this event in a joint statement: 

“As neighborhood associations, we believe in the power of community collaboration to address the diverse needs of our residents. By co-hosting this weekend’s health event with our local library, we aimed to ensure equitable health screenings and services for everyone. Providing language support for both English and Spanish speakers, along with local music and food, we sought to create an inclusive and joyful space that truly reflects the spirit of our community.”

Our Healthy Jackson County is a community-wide initiative, which launched October 2023. This organization plans numerous events for various locations. For more information visit or call 816-404-CARE (2273)