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Let's Move In Magnolia
The Let’s Move Magnolia program was developed from the need for physical activity opportunities in Magnolia Park, Houston, Texas. After surveying the community, CAN DO Houston found out that the residents needed more outlets to participate in physical activity. A program coordinator was contracted to find teachers to provide yoga and Zumba classes for free to the community. The program coordinator also developed a physical assessment to track the progress of Let’s Move Magnolia participants. This program lasted from January to the end of July of 2013. A yoga class was provided for an hour on Monday mornings during the first half of the program. Zumba classes were the main component of the program. These classes were offered Monday and Tuesday evenings from 6pm to 7pm at the Mason Park Gym and the Magnolia Park Multi Service Center. On Fridays, a Zumba class was held from 3:30pm to 4:30pm at Briscoe elementary for students and teachers. Over 100 residents joined the classes over the span of the program. Several participants did see changes in flexibility or inches lost.
Leadership and Advocacy Program
The CAN DO Houston Leadership and Advocacy Program is a curriculum guided by both the NAACP Advocacy Training Manual and the South Central Valley California program. This is an 8 week intervention followed by a graduation celebration and it is aimed towards community members that have completed the CAN DO Houston Healthy Lifestyle Program. All ages and community members are welcome to join the program. The intent of this intervention is to give participants from the Healthy Lifestyle program the tools to make their communities conducive to a healthy lifestyle. After completing the Healthy Lifestyle Program, participants know what they need to have a healthy and nutritious diet and exercise routine. If the neighborhood in which they live does not provide the resources for them to reach their goals then the Leadership and Advocacy program gives them the tools and techniques to change their environment.
Each session focuses on the following:
1. Program orientation and introduction to regional obesity trends
2. A. Assessing community environmental risk factors B. Addressing barriers to teamwork
3. A. Identifying and organizing an advocacy team B. Identifying allies and opposition
4. Collecting information to support your case
5. A. Making the case for change to allies B. Running an effective stakeholder’s meeting
6. Making the case for change to decision makers
7. A. Building lasting relationships with decision makers, resolving group conflict and keeping motivated B. Acknowledging people who have helped you achieve your goals
8. Analyzing the process, tactics and strategies.
Each session lasts 2 hours once a week and includes classroom and homework activities. The suggested activities build leadership skills in the participants by encouraging them to speak before the class about their chosen topic, research the data to support their topic and build teamwork skills. This program gives participants the tools to strengthen their voice in their community. CDH has implemented this program once in Sunnyside and once in North Side Houston. While the Sunnyside advocacy group chose to focus on one common goal, the North Side advocacy group has chosen to support each other with several goals.
Health in Action
The CAN DO Houston Health in Action program was developed by Herisa Stanislaus, an Albert Schweitzer Fellow and MPH student at the University of Texas School of Public Health. Health in Action is a pilot program that focuses on the prevention of childhood obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. Health in Action combines health education with art projects that underscore lessons pertaining to nutrition and exercise. The overarching theme relates to the significance of environments that facilitate healthy eating and active living. A primary goal through the various projects and dialogue is to empower youth and create advocates for change in their community. Health in Action has typically run concurrently with the CAN DO Houston Healthy Lifestyle classes and has been implemented twice in Northeast Houston. The sessions are 6-9 weeks and last for 2 hours. Every session is comprised of health education, art projects, physical activity, and a healthy snack.
Healthy Lifestyle Program
The CAN DO Houston Healthy Lifestyle program includes a 6 week long curriculum followed by a 7th week class graduation celebration. These nutrition and healthy diet habits sessions are held once a week for 2 hours. This program has been created as a condensed version of the A Nu Life program. The intervention is aimed towards parents, but all ages and community members are welcomed. Each session covers a different nutrition topic including why it all matters, it all begins at the grocery store, fiber, fruits and fallacies, the ABC’s of building a meal, recipe makeovers and maintaining the changes. During each class, participants discuss the topics in the curriculum, participate in class activity worksheets and are asked to complete a homework assignment for the next session. At the end of each session, healthy recipes are provided for the participants to try at home. The facilitator either prepares a dish from one of the given recipes prior to class or holds a demonstration at the end of the session. This shows the participants that healthy meals taste good and can be easy to prepare. A baseline and post-test survey are provided to the participants and a session evaluation is given at the end of each class. This program has been implemented twice in Sunnyside, Houston and once in North Side, Houston.
CAN DO Houston has added a physical activity component to the curriculum to begin in the Fall of 2013. The physical activity portion has been adapted for the most part from the UH Bounce Curriculum. Information from the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Association has also been provided. The six focus points of the physical activity portion of the program include the importance of physical activity, types of physical activity, let’s make this happen, improve mental health and mood, reduce risks for obesity and maintenance. Students are expected to perform some exercise during this portion of the class and examples are provided in the curriculum. The baseline, post-test and session evaluations have been updated to reflect the additional physical activity portion of the class.
Community and School Gardens
CAN DO Houston (CDH) has participated in the planting of vegetable gardens with in several Houston elementary schools and communities. CDH has helped realize gardens at Lyons, Berry, Ross and Burress elementary schools along with helping out at Beauty’s Community Garden. CDH has utilized local resources including the help of Kelvin the Urban Farmer in workshops to teach students and community residents the steps of building, growing and tending a garden. More recently in September of 2013, CDH team members completed a training to use the Junior Master Gardener Program from the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. The Junior Master Gardener Program level 1 is aimed towards elementary age students in grades 3 to 5 and includes lessons over gardening, healthy living, photography and science. A baseline and post-test survey is provided to students that participate in the program.
Beauty’s Community garden began from the vision of an Independence Heights community leader. CDH participates in gathering volunteers for the workshops that are provided for 2 hours once a month and helps with maintenance of the garden. This is an example of a “for the community by the community” initiative that CDH supports.
Mobile Produce Unit
The CAN DO Houston (CDH) Mobile Produce Unit is a program influenced by the idea of food trucks being able to bring food to the people versus the people coming to the food. In this instance CDH has a vision to have a mobile produce unit that brings fresh fruits and vegetables to the neighborhood. In the Spring of 2013, CDH wanted to pilot this idea at an apartment complex in Fifth Ward, Houston, Texas. While CDH was unable to get permission to bring a produce vendor into the apartment complex, we were able to partner up with a local produce vendor to sell low cost fresh fruits and vegetables at the park located between the apartment complex and an elementary school that CDH has been involved with. The prices were kept very low, from 1 to 2 dollars for a few pieces of produce. Children from the elementary school, parents pickin up their children and families from the apartment complex would buy fresh produce at the CDH mobile produce stand. Children getting out of class would buy fruit on their own or with their parents that were picking them up. An important detail that made this pilot possible was that the produce vendor was able to accept Lonestar purchases. This stand was set up twice a week for 2 hours each day. We hope to set up the mobile produce stand at another location to measure how availability encourages purchasing.
Healthy Corner Store
The CAN DO Houston Healthy Corner Store program has been piloted in the Sunnyside community in Houston, Texas in the Spring of 2013. After the completion of a feasibility study in the Spring of 2012, CDH was able to choose one store in the area to transform into a healthy corner store. This process entails partnering up with a local produce vendor to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to the corner store location. The produce was delivered once a week to be displayed on a stand in the store. Several pieces of fruit were sold for 1 to 2 dollars and Lonestar payment was accepted. A hardship with this program was that customers that were running out of food stamps at the end of the month could not purchase more produce until the beginning of the next month. CAN DO Houston is working towards piloting a healthy corner store in the areas of Northside and Fifth Ward, Houston, Texas which are known to be food deserts.