MIDDLEBURG – School Board Chairwoman Mary Bolla was lost for words as she stood inside one of the two examination rooms at the new Aza Health.

“Incredible,” she muttered.

As part of the school’s new UCF-Certified Community Partnership School designation, a health clinic that will serve Northwest Middleburg and Clay Hill is now operational on the campus.

The clinic will be available to students, teachers and staff during school hours and to the general public when school’s not in session. Officials said the clinic will serve an area that’s been void of local healthcare.

“Our priority is to ensure that children are healthy and have healthcare, and so we are so thrilled that Aza has joined on board with the wellness community partnership school to make that a reality for the students in the school community, as well as the adults who are in the school,” said Melanie Patz, Executive Cabinet Chair and Vice President of Community Investment and Impact for Baptist Health.

The certification is one of only 14 in the state. It required Wilkinson’s Community Partnership Schools to create partnerships with Baptist, Woofson Children’s Hospital, Clay County School District, St. Johns River State College and Children’s Home Society of Florida.

There are 15,281 public and charter schools in Florida, according to greatschools.org.

Keystone Heights Junior High and Orange Park High are community partnership schools that are seeking UCF certifications.

Aza will add to an assortment of benefits available at the Title 1 school, including free or reduced breakfasts and lunches, eye and dental care, tutoring, mental health counseling, laundry services and free clothing.

“The wellness clinic will provide, not only for our students but the middle of our community, a place where they can address their medical needs,” said Community Home Society Association Regional Director Becki Couch. “Our motto with Children’s Home Society is we do good, and it is through your collaborative efforts that we can all say we do. Everybody knows it’s an undeserved community; we don’t get enough.”

Additional security measures at all county schools required the school to ask the district to move some fences to allow residents to use the laundry mat, clothes closet and clinic when the students are gone. The district complied and now has two fences – one that protects classrooms while making community services available.

Alex Delgado, Aza Nursing Director, said it’s rare how many stakeholders came together to solve a common problem.

“We truly appreciate the collaborative efforts that have taken place to make today happen,” she said. “It is not often that you will find this many stakeholders with differing perspectives all working together to improve the lives of the students and their Middleburg community by providing a number of good services and programs. We have each brought our own unique expertise, skill and dedication to this partnership to make this happen.”

Originally posted by claytodayonline.com

By Don Coble