Program helps improve health literacy
Helping folks increase their knowledge about medical care and make everyday healthy choices are among aims of a program recently offered to tenants at two CPRHA properties.
Through the eight-session Health Education and Literacy (HEAL) Program, participants can learn about current healthcare topics, better understand medical terminology, and become more familiar with standard healthcare processes and practices. Kevin and Faith Blankenship, husband and wife, recently led the program at Fox Meadow in Lebanon and Fairfax Court in Richlands. The program is made available through a Literacy for Life grant. Russell and Tazewell are among counties the Blankenships cover through the grant.
When you hear the term “health literacy,” you may associate it with the ability to read and write, which is of course vital to understanding basic health information and making appropriate decisions. But health literacy encompasses more than that. For example, knowing how to read and understand medication labels, complete medical forms and insurance applications, interpret test results, understand medical bills and who to ask when you have questions or where to go when you need care all affect our health care.
Kevin Blankenship, a local pastor, explained that the HEAL program consists of eight sessions covering different topics all aimed at helping participants lead healthier lives. At Fox Meadow, classes began May 30 and were held twice a week through July 8. Sessions were about 90 minutes long each and began with a hot, healthy meal for participants. Classes began at Fairfax Court on July 18 and ended August 16.
Lessons cover a variety of health-related topics. For example, the first lesson covers healthy eating. The next is about medication, with participants learning about over-the-counter versus prescription medication, how to talk to a pharmacist, and what questions to ask. A local pharmacist even visited the class to answer questions. Other lessons cover when to go to an emergency room or visit an urgent care center, what to expect during regular doctor visits, how to describe symptoms to a doctor, how to ask questions to better understand a diagnosis, and disease prevention. The final session includes a field trip to a local hospital.
At Fox Meadow, 10 people attended at least five classes, and several attended all eight. Five other people attended one or more classes.
“We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Fox Meadows complex,” he noted. “We had a wonderful time with the participants. They received a lot of valuable and new information that will help them to live healthier lives. In fact, several told me they started eating healthy and changing some of their unhealthy habits to better take care of themselves.”
Pastor Blankenship said providing a healthy, hot meal for participants at the beginning of each class gave him and wife Faith an opportunity to become better acquainted with everyone. “Halfway through the course, several were already making statements about hating to see the program come to an end, and Faith and I felt the same way. We enjoyed every minute. The HEAL Program was an all-around great learning experience,” he said.
He also expressed gratitude to his church, The River, for sponsoring meals for the program, as well as gift cards that were distributed to BINGO winners and other participants during the classes.
Participation was good at Fairfax Court too, said Pastor Blankenship.
Fox Meadow children pose with backpacks provided by CPRHA for the start of the new school year.
Youth enjoy end-of-summer celebration
Fox Meadow youth bid summer farewell on Friday, August 2 with free pizza, frozen treats and fun in the sun.
Children in grades pre-k through middle school also went home with backpacks and high schoolers received gift cards provided by the housing authority to help them begin a new school year this month.
The event kicked off at noon with lunch. Splashes and laughter followed as youngsters took turns cooling off on a water slide or in kiddie pools. The day ended with distribution of backpacks.
CPRHA wishes all our youth a safe and happy school year filled with fun and learning!
The River provides free school supplies
The River, a church in Lebanon, distributed free school supplies to children at Fox Meadow on Sunday, August 4. Youngsters were also treated to free ice cream sundaes. CPRHA staff and Fox Meadow residents express appreciation to the church and Pastor Kevin Blankenship for supporting our communities.
Above left, armed with butterfly nets, youth journey around Fox Meadow in search of butterflies on a sunny afternoon. Above right, youngsters visit with Mr. Junior Green, who displays a bird’s nest he found, during a nature scavenger hunt.
Summer brings free meals, lots of fun at Fox Meadow
Nearly 270 free lunches and about the same number of snacks were served to children at Fox Meadow in Lebanon this summer.
Cumberland Plateau Regional Housing Authority for the third consecutive year partnered with Feeding America Southwest Virginia in Abingdon to offer free lunches and snacks to children up to age 18. The Summer Food Service Program, a federally-funded, state-administered USDA initiative, provides free healthy meals to children in low-income areas during summer months.
Feeding America provided shelf-stable prepackaged meals for the housing authority to serve. Lunches and snacks were served Monday through Friday at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. respectively in the Fox Meadow community room with an activity session in between.
The program began June 10 and ran through Aug. 1. Meals were served a total of 36 days, including 267 lunches and 262 snacks.
Accompanying the meals program was a youth activity session, also held Monday through Friday. Three days a week – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – volunteers from Lebanon Community Fellowship Church and Gracewood Baptist Church led activities such as Bible lessons and crafts. Housing authority staff and leaders with the Fox Meadow Association of Concerned Tenants directed the sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The fun included outdoor games, a nature scavenger hunt, butterfly project, water slide days and more.
Seniors invited to attend Coffee + Plus
Fox Meadow residents age 55 and older are invited to attend monthly Coffee + Plus meetings hosted by the Association of Concerned Tenants.
The program, which launched in February of this year, meets the third Thursday of every month at 10 a.m. in the community room. ACT partners with the housing authority to organize the sessions, which is aimed at improving health and wellness and offering a source of community engagement for senior citizens. The overall goal is to keep our seniors active, engaged and healthy.
Some months include guest speakers or planned activities. For example, in April, two representatives of Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens visited to provide an overview of services offered by the agency. In July, participants put their artistic talent on display when a local artist conducted a paint party (at left).
ACT members and housing staff encourage all seniors to attend the program.