This past weekend, Real Medicine Foundation & the Florence Western Medical Center hosted their first “Back to School” Event, providing more than 60 children and families with brand new backpacks filled with school supplies.
Recognizing the needs of this community has not been the challenge; the challenge has been how to encourage the community to show up for the services available to them. Free health and fitness programs for adults and children are offered at the center by Real Medicine, yet often we find a low attendance due to lack of access to information, transportation and health issues. While we have worked diligently to encourage the patients with incentives to attend these programs, at times it can be frustrating. Many charities in Los Angeles share this dilemma.
So the question becomes how can we bring about awareness of our programming in an area where the digital age has fallen behind? Phone numbers on sign-up sheets are often disconnected the following month. Most patients do not have home computers, making emails a futile effort. How can we meet the needs of the community and bring forth something that they will show up for, while giving them access to information about the center’s services and our programming?
Real Medicine Foundation continues to provide physical and emotional support to children and adults within the greater Los Angeles area. With our children’s programs, this past month we focused on how to approach situations which can cause a great deal of stress within our everyday lives. Most of the children who participate in our programs are being raised by family members other than their parents, and are at high risk for future physical and psychological problems.
Our workshop “Turning lemons into lemonade” gave the children the opportunity to discuss different situations which can cause stress, and then invited them to explore and create their own problem solving techniques. The majority of children we work with are faced with extremely difficult situations due to demographics based on socioeconomic status. Their neighborhoods are unsafe, schools are overcrowded and there is little or no access to enrichment programs which would help relieve the stressors created in these environments.
We have noticed an increase in the number of children with a high BMI index, due primarily to lack of nutritional education coupled with the inaccessibility of fresh produce and whole grain foods. Real Medicine Foundation offers Adult & Child Health & Fitness education workshops along with a food donation program 5 days a week which provides organic produce and food donated from Whole Foods Markets, Venice, California, in an effort to assist in meeting the needs of this community.