Programs Reach Community with Healthy Classes
By Dianne Anderson
Some people pay a lot of money for health and wellness coaches, stress management classes, Zumba and POP Pilates, Tai Chi, or any of the many other classes offered up free of charge at several locations across Riverside city.
Participants just need to log in to the Riverside Community Health Foundation calendar to stay on track toward their healthy goals.
On Saturday, January 26, the year Start R.I.G.H.T. (Riverside Is Getting Healthy Together), End Strong program is challenging the entire community to come out and kick off their local expo with live exercise demonstrations, vendor booths, and a kids corner.
Dr. Lorena Newson said the event has plenty of resources to keep the family fit and happy. It’s free to the public, and runs from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Ryan Bonaminio Park, located at 5000 Tequesquite Avenue in Riverside.
“We’ll have a run and walk route to Mt. Rubidoux for individuals to earn points toward their challenge,” said Newson, MPH, and Senior Director of Health Strategies of the Riverside Community Health Foundation.
Participants can step up to the challenge by registering for the year with IPads at the location. Once registered, they will get access to a listserve, and other opportunities to earn extra points outside of RCHF events/ Those with most points are also eligible to receive prizes.
Dr. Newson said that it’s a great challenge for the whole family.
“If you want to all get healthy together, or you can incentivize your children to get healthy. It’s something you can do for your job. It’s a good extra-curricular opportunity to get active.”
Earning points and getting prizes is also a great way to get the community energized around fitness, exercise, dieting, and food choices.
“Getting healthy together is whatever that means for you. It could mean weight loss, lowering blood sugar, blood pressure, lowing cholesterol, getting more toned, and mental health. It could be all of those things,” she said.
And everybody’s got a thing at one point or another in life.
Sometimes it’s stress and anxiety. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 16 million Americans face depression each year.
Phyllis Clark, founder of Broken Crayons Still Color, A Healthy Heritage project, has an upcoming program partnering with six churches in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties to help women work through their fractured lives.
Internationally known clinical psychologist Dr. Gloria Morrow, created the project under the nonprofit Healthy Heritage program, and is teaching the classes.
Clark said that she sought out Dr. Morrow out for her background in psychology, but also her book, “Too Broken to be Fixed,” which inspired the program’s theme. Morrow is also the medical director of Behavioral Health for Golden Shore Medical Group, formerly known as Molina Medical Group.
“She’s a renowned facilitator. We are blessed to have her to create our program,” Clark said.
Many women in the community are struggling with mental health challenges. Last week, brought out her team with a chef to speak at Loma Linda Sickle Cell support group about how closely the mind and body are connected to diet and everyday choices.
“It all really starts with your mind, it’s like a mindset. You say that I’m going to quit smoking, or I’m going to quit eating this, your mind does that first. We’ve got to do things that the body can manage,” Clark said.
Part of her goal is raising awareness of the benefit of nutrition, and its impact on the body, as well helping traumatized women work through their mental health issues in creative ways. In speaking with the people out in the community, she knows that life can get tough.
This year, she is personally on task to go mostly, if not all, plant-based in her food choices.
“It’s not easy to change the things we have grown up with. With Big Pharma or the food industry, our system is not set up to keep us healthy,” she said.
The purpose of the Broken Crayons Still Color Project, through the eight-week classes are to help remove the stigma of mental health.
“We want women to know what mental health is and it is important to seek professional help when they find themselves struggling with depression, anxiety, stress, or PTSD,” she said.
Participants will learn to identify their symptoms, and what steps to take to improve their situation.
“They will also learn how to identify personal issues that can impact their mental health. There is no shame in seeking help to get your mind healthy,” she said.
For more information on RCHF, see https://rchf.org/community-calendar/
To register for the Broken Crayons Project classes, see BrokenCrayons.org or call (951) 682-1717