CCI Health Services’ CEO and President Dr. Sonya Bruton reflects on CCI’s third annual Block Party in Greenbelt.
More than a week removed from our third annual Block Party, and I’m still smiling. What the CCI team accomplished for our 900 Greenbelt neighbors on August 12 embodied community health. Here’s a behind-the-scenes peak at the pursuit of whole health in action and the culmination of our 2023 National Health Center Week celebration.
Staff members arrived bright and early at our Greenbelt health center for set up. We were hours away from the event, yet I could already feel the excitement among the team. That shouldn’t be too surprising; we are health advocates, after all. We know an opportunity to make an impact when we see one. And for three years now, our Block Party has proven to be an effective way to launch hundreds of newfound health journeys within a single afternoon.
In those early morning hours, I watched Carmen Frazier, Public Relations and Outreach Specialist, Oyinade Koyi, Creative Services Manager, and Ashley Nunez, Operations Manager, present a masterclass in event coordination. Of course, it takes a team, and many other CCI staffers lent a hand for the event. I was re-invigorated to see so many colleagues volunteer their time on a Saturday morning to ensure our success.
It turned out that we needed an army of early helping hands! It was clear that this year’s Block Party would be a big one when attendees began lining up two hours before the scheduled start time! A first for us and a sign of things to come.
The party started in full force promptly at noon. After a quick registration process, attendees made their way through the entrance. Some were off to introduce themselves to our vendors, others started inside the health center for scheduled medical services, and the rest headed for our free catered lunch, games, prizes, and so much more.
You don’t mess with success, so we knew we had to be back DJ Dre and KyleOnTheMic this year. They kept the music bumping and the energy high all afternoon. The meal from Mission BBQ was a hit, and all attendees could pick a favorite flavor from the ice cream truck to cool off on a hot summer’s day. There were plenty of activities for our young neighbors to enjoy, from a gaming truck stocked with the latest offerings to more old-school fun like musical chairs and hula hoops.
And really, what’s a party without a little dancing?!
Amid the fun, I paused to take in the sight of clusters of families living their best lives. No cares, no worries—just being in the present moment, enjoying the day together. That’s when the true value of our Block Party occurred to me. We take care of the needs that are seen and unseen, the ones that are present, and the ones that will emerge.
That’s how we measure success, and I’m overjoyed to share that this was our most successful Block Party yet.
I was pleased to see the numbers from this year’s Block Party. We had grown from 500 attendees in 2021 to 750 in 2022 and 900 this year. It’s a credit to the work of our award-winning marketing and the reputation of our care teams.
This year, we served patients through 52 medical visits, 50 immunization visits, and 20 HIV screenings. 760 left with fresh produce courtesy of our friends from Hungry Harvest. We scheduled 32 dental appointments and distributed 200 dental kits. That tells me that CCI is making an impression and a difference.
However, we could not and did not achieve these results alone.
The Block Party would not have happened without the generosity of our sponsors.
We appreciate Franklin Park Apartments for making the space available and spreading the word to residents.
A special thank you to the City of Greenbelt for their enthusiasm and support.
The Block Party depends on the commitment, dedication, and passion of our volunteers. Thank you for giving us your time.
It was an honor to share the Block Party experience with the vendors who participated this year.
Finally, I send a hearty and special thank you to every CCI staff member who worked on or at the Block Party. You bring our mission to life.
I believe in meeting people where they are. I also believe in the power of place. What I love about our annual Block Party is that it caters to both philosophies: bringing essential health services to our neighbors in Prince George’s County while introducing them to our Greenbelt health center, often for the first time. And even though some attendees may not yet seek us for care, they left our event healthier – and happier – than when they came. We’ll see them again next year; until then, they know we’re just a phone call away.