Tupelo rolled out the tie-dye carpet for comedian Steve Harvey on Friday. The TV and radio personality hung out with little big shots at HealthWorks! Before sharing some laughs with hundreds of donors for the children’s health education center at the Bancorp South Arena. “The center is incredible for learning about health,” Harvey said at the Friday night event. During his HealthWorks! Visit earlier in the day, Harvey, who hosts the Family Feud as well as his daytime show, joined in a game show quiz during a lesson on the skin. He tried his hand at the giant game of Operation on the Fantastic floor. “You’re the little big shots,” Harvey told his pint-sized fans as they cheered him on.
During Harvey’s HealthWorks! Tour, director Kathy Tucker shared that the goal of the center is for kids to have fun while they learn, so they leave feeling successful. “He said, ‘That’s what I was missing in school. I wasn’t having fun,’” Tucker recounted. HealthWorks! Opened its doors in 2009 thanks to a regional effort that raised $6.7 million to build the center in Tupelo. More than 220,000 students, family members, and teachers have participated in programs over the past eight and a half years. The center needs $300,000 in charitable support annually to keep admission fees accessible to students and families. The Friday night event with Harvey, which was invitation only for HealthWorks! Donors, has helped the center raise about $120,000 so far, said Dean Hancock, president of the Healthcare Foundation of North Mississippi, which oversees the center.
Philanthropic commitment to mentoring teens
“It’s a great, great start to help sustain HealthWorks! Into the future,” Hancock said. “Whatever we raise tonight will be compounded.” Harvey’s sense of humor and philanthropic commitment to mentoring teens through the foundation he runs with his wife, Marjorie, overlaps with the HealthWorks! Mission and wacky, happy, high energy style. “He’s a perfect match,” Hancock said. At Friday’s event, the Health Care Foundation honored two local MVPs. Grace Clark was named a Foundation Fellow for her tireless work and enthusiasm on behalf of HealthWorks!, the foundation and other community groups. Tupelo family physician Dr. Ed Hill was honored with the P.K. Thomas Jr., MD Service Award for embodying the spirit of the late physician with his work on the local, national and world medical scenes.
Story by Moses Kamuiru.