Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi aims to give all elementary-age children in the Provo City School District medical screenings through her charity “Kaufusi’s Keikis.”
The charity will give parents the option to opt their children into free annual health screenings, checking blood pressure, hearing, vision, dental and more.
The mayor is developing the health outreach program with Provo-based Noorda College. Tests will be initially provided by Noorda College students, before expanding to students from BYU, UVU and others.
Schyler Richards, vice president for Institutional Advancement at Noorda College, explained how the program benefits struggling families.
“They might not have adequate insurance to cover an annual screening of their child, they might not have transportation to get to a doctor’s appointment. It provides at least once a year a quick look at how these kids are doing,” Richards said.
Jenna Knaupp, communications coordinator at the college, hopes the program will give support to families from all diverse backgrounds.
“People hear Provo and they think of just BYU kids, but in reality, there’s a lot of immigrant families and a lot of people who need extra help like that,” Knaupp said.
Richards believes the program can have far reaching benefits for the community and local children’s future. By identifying health needs in Provo’s children, the program can work with the city and school district to isolate and address those issues.
“You don’t just all of a sudden wake up at 21 and have health issues, a lot of times it’s lifestyle. It’s what you had access to as far as medical attention … and so the sooner we can address those, the better overall long-term outcomes we can get for kids,” Richardson said.
Richardson had high praise for the support Mayor Kaufusi has provided.
“Mayor Kaufusi is a force to be reckoned with, she’s just an incredibly positive force for good in this community. She has embraced it as her charity and we love that. She’s been our strongest advocate out in the community as we’ve started to move it forward,” Richardson said.
According to the mayor, the charity will be funded through private donations, sponsorship gifts and volunteering. Proceeds from this year’s Provo Advantage Pro-Am Golf Tournament also went to the charity.
Provo City Communications Director Nicole Martin explained some of the mayor’s personal motivation behind developing the charity.
“The mayor was born and raised in Provo and was a daughter of a single mother, they were quite poor and it instilled a strong desire in her to help others where she can,” Martin said.
According to her blog, Mayor Kaufusi grew up in “survival mode,” but her trajectory improved through the care of the community.
“She’s just really excited to find a way to give back to the children and the community,” Martin said.
The pilot will be launched this fall with a limited number of Title I elementary schools, according to Schyler Richards.