They say that laughter is the best medicine and a pair of upcoming events in Hanford will put that idiom into practice.
Local nonprofit organization Women with Visions Unlimited is partnering with various other local organizations for an upcoming comedy show fundraiser and health forum.
“We wanted to bring something different to the community,” organizer Carolyn Hudgins said. “Everybody needs a good laugh, especially these days.”
She added that standup comedy shows are common in places like Fresno, but she’d like to see more shows in Hanford.
“Why drive up to Fresno when we could have more entertainment here in our community,” she said.
Hudgins co-founded Women with Visions Unlimited with Paula Massey in 2007. The group focused on helping students become successful in life by helping them become entrepreneurs or helping them with getting scholarships, for example.
“Reading and math is something students are lacking in, especially after the pandemic, so that’s something that we’ve tried to help with,” she said.
The organization, along with the Kings County Black History Committee, will host a night of standup comedy at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Kings Art Center, located at 605 N. Douty St.
Central Valley comedian Andre Covington will host a crew of various regional comedians at the event, which will also feature a bar, vendors, raffles and food.
Covington is a Fresno-based comedian, actor and radio host. He has appeared on MTV, Comedy Central, BET’s “Comic View,” HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam” and the sitcom “Sister, Sister.”
“He’s really good,” Hudgins said. “I enjoy listening to him.”
Covington also works as a motivational speaker and does philanthropic work in his community.
“He’s in the community and he’s doing great things,” Massey said.
Proceeds from the comedy show, tickets for which are $20 per person in advance or $25 at the door, will go toward funding a community health forum the following week.
The forum is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11 at Coe Park, 543 S. Douty St., Hanford.
It will feature forums and information about physical and mental health for men, women and children.
The Adventist Mobile Health Unit will be on premises to provide general check ups for people who need them.
“One thing I like about [the mobile health unit] is that people who come to the event will have their numbers when they leave,” Massey said. “They’ll have their blood pressure numbers, their diabetes numbers, their A1c numbers, that they can take back to their doctors if they decide to do that.”
Other local organizations that will be on hand to assist with information, awareness and services include Central Valley Regional Center, Sensory Rock, United Cerebral Palsy and Disability Rights California, among others.
“They’ll be talking to parents about their rights when it comes to disabilities, whether that’s for adults or children,” Massey said.
Additionally, there will be a Zumba class and various forums on topics such as Medicare. Kings Community Action Organization is also donating meals that will be given out at the event’s conclusion, she said.
Massey said that it’s easy to be overwhelmed when it comes to health and that being uninformed about health issues, or reluctant to get checked, can only exacerbate problems. This is why community health forums such as these are so important, especially for marginalized communities and people of color, she said.
There will also be information on mental health programs. Massey said that, like physical ailments, there can also be reluctance in some people to seek help when it comes to mental health, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s important. It’s not scary. It’s not scary to think, ‘I need to talk to somebody’ because sometimes that’s all you need is to talk to somebody,” she said.
For tickets to the comedy show, visit shorturl.at/gw029. The health forum is free to attend.