by Luz Villa, AmeriCorps Health Promoter, Bridgeport School District
Have you ever wondered how you would feel if you could make a difference in someone’s life? I never did! I moved from the big city of Los Angeles, California to the small town of Bridgeport, Washington seven years ago. I never imagined that I could make a difference in someone’s life, and possibly to a whole community. Working for the Washington Health Foundation and AmeriCorps gives me the opportunity to meet new people, make new life-long friends, and get to know my community even better.
We introduced the Governor's Health Bowl challenge in September to our students and community. We encouraged individuals to stay active and log their miles. At school we kept track of the students’ activities through out the day; at home they were tracking their activity also. We had competitions between our elementary, middle and high schools. Every grade was exited to compete against each other, because everyone wanted to win. Next we introduced the Health Home concept to parents and the community on October 18th. Since that time I have received phone calls and visits from many of them letting me know how grateful they are that we have this type of program in our District. It gives me great pleasure to listen to what they have to say. It also lets me know if the binder that I created for their Health Home is helpful to them.
It is equally important to our District to partner with other community programs to better inform individuals of programs available in the community. I recently did a Health Home presentation at EPIC. This is a program that helps low income families and migrant families as well as Early Head Start programs. I did my presentation at their “Health Literacy Workshop.” I can proudly say that it was a triumph because I had the opportunity to answer many of their concerns. I was very lucky that EPIC had a computer with an overhead screen, which made it easy for me to log in to the Washington Health Foundation website and use their slides to do my presentation. I had the opportunity to show them step by step, how to log their miles and become Champions. This will encourage them to be more active, make better food choices, and to better manage their own health because they have access to all this on the WHF website.
Family members are important partners in our Health Home community as well as friends. Therefore, our goal is to encourage everyone to be more active and have a partner or a support group when reaching a goal. An active life and good friends to count on are great stress relievers. Working for WHF/AmeriCorps is giving me the most amazing opportunity to make a difference, not just in other people’s lives, but in my own.