The 2011 Youth Health Explosion and Talent Search will be hosted at the Tennessee Pavilion today. The health fair is scheduled 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The talent search is 6 to 8 p.m. Admission is $1 for adults 18 and older. Free for children.
Ten-year-old Lorenzo Gibson said he's too focused on becoming a rapper to be sidetracked by drugs or gangs.
"We've been trying so hard, and we just want to get better," Lorenzo said. "We're doing stuff better than getting in trouble."
Lorenzo, his brother Dejeon Gibson, 11, and sister Jakia Hubbard, 13, were among about a dozen performers auditioning for a spot in the Chattanooga's Got Talent contest at Bessie Smith Hall.
They competed for a chance to record a single with Grammy Award winning producer Kevin Deane, who has produced music for Mary J. Blige and Quincy Jones.
The contest is the culmination of the 2011 Youth Health Explosion and Chattanooga's Got Talent search sponsored by the Dental Angel Fund Foundation and Alton Park Development Corp.
The health explosion will offer free dental, blood pressure and other health screenings from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.
The talent search is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. today at the First Tennessee Pavilion. Talent search participants auditioned on Thursday to compete today.
Chattanooga Allergy Clinic and the American Diabetes Association will be among more than 40 venders attending the health event.
Chattanooga Parks and Recreation will coordinate track and field activities throughout the day and the city's Education, Arts & Culture Department will present the talent contest.
Dr. Elenora Woods, founder of the Dental Angel Fund Foundation and executive director of the Alton Park Development Corp., organized the health event after reading about so many young people in Hamilton County affected by asthma, diabetes and obesity.
"With our kids dying every day, with diabetic rates going up and asthma rates and all these other problems athletes with bad hearts passing out not knowing they're in bad health, we decided we would go ahead and do a major health explosion for our kids," Woods said.
She asks that youths attending the health fair bring a guardian so that an adult may be made aware of any health concerns noted during screenings.
The goal is to help Chattanooga's youths improve their health and to provide them with safe and positive entertainment, said international singing artist T-Ran Gilbert.
"When kids are bored and they feel like they can't do anything, they end up in places not positive. This will help our youth be a part of something that gives them a purpose," Gilbert said.
Gilbert, Rocket Multimedia CEO and Sony America Senior Vice President Corey Jones and Deane will be among the judges for the event.
"We're giving young people direction, an outlet to want to succeed in music," Deane said. "It just channels them to a career decision that could benefit their lives."