Parades, picnics help kids prepare for school

August 22, 2009 (CHICAGO) Parades, picnics and health check-ups were organized to help to make sure students are prepared.

Among the issues facing city and school officials this year is prevention against the H1N1 flu virus, as well as making sure that students are in school on the first day of the academic year.

Residents of Chicago's Englewood community took to the streets Saturday morning to show children that children in their area are ready for the first day of school.

"This is a welcome back to school parade. My daughter goes to Ogden Park, and my son plays football," one area mother told ABC7 Chicago.

This year, Mayor Richard Daley served as grand marshal of the neighborhood parade which celebrates education and the school year to come.

"A lot of families are out here protecting their kids like anyone else. They want their kids to grow up, be safe and get a good education for them," Daley said.

While students at the city's approximately 132 year-round public schools returned to classes last week, the remaining traditional class schedules get under way September 8, sparking a flurry of activity as parents try to get kids ready to learn.

At the Roseland area's Chicago Family Health Center, more than 100 school-aged children were given back-to-school physicals and immunizations. The clinic's health fair was co-sponsored by Sen. Roland Burris.

While school officials are hurrying to protect their facilities against a resurgence of the H1N1 flu virus, doctors talked to patients Saturday about flu prevention.

"[We] recommend that people maintain medical problems as well as they can and that will help prevent other complications," said the health center's Dr. Gerri Browning.

Other events took place around Chicagoland promoting the upcoming school year. On the city's West Side, many children enjoyed State Sen. Rickey Hendon's 20th annual parade and picnic. Participants enjoyed free food and activities, and the children received free school supplies.

"We love school!" a group of children told ABC7 Chicago.

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