Last week, Quaniqua Carthan, of the Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, delivered a proclamation from Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, declaring July 14, Healthy Families Class Day in the city!
Founded in 1996, the St. Ann’s Healthy Families Program is a ministry of Dismas Charities, with special assistance from St. William Catholic Church and the community at large. The program meets at the Dismas Charities St. Ann’s Campus, 1515 Algonquin Parkway, with an average attendance of 15 women, some with children in tow, and occasionally, a man or two.
The program teaches life skills such as healthy cooking, personal and family health, child care, family financial management, home care and other personal skills, job readiness, plus providing motivation for improved quality of life for low-income women. Each week a program is planned around one of the topics listed above, and goals are set by each participant to support a healthy lifestyle.
At least two weeks each month, food is prepared in class to emphasize economical, well-balanced meals, and participants receive the ingredients to prepare the dish at home. If no food is prepared in class, healthy snacks are provided while other life skills information is presented by the instructors or a guest speaker.
Weekly attendance incentives include hygiene items and door prizes, including clothing and household items. (Donated items are placed in the basket in back of St. William Church with the name, “St. Ann’s.” To encourage an ongoing commitment to learning and self- improvement, periodic gift cards are awarded – usually to Save-a-Lot Supermarkets (that do not carry alcohol or tobacco products – to participants who achieve goals of attendance and personal improvement.)
The class is managed by three volunteers, Phyllis Fitzgerald and Diana Pantalos from St. William Church, as well as Tomy Molloy, from Family & Children’s Place. Guest speakers are volunteers from throughout the city in related fields of expertise and motivation. Program expenses are funded by Dismas Charities, with door prizes and Angel Tree gifts donated by members of St. William parish and other generous citizens from the community at large.
A commitment to making and achieving goals, attending classes on a regular basis, and commitment to personal self-improvement and that of fellow class members is a necessary condition for being part of the class, and class members are required to sign an intention to these conditions in order to continue class membership.
Volunteers are welcome as guest speakers, shoppers, instructors, mentors, solicitors of prizes, assistance with bookkeeping, and providing transportation to specific events. To volunteer, or for more information, contact Phyllis Fitzgerald at 533-4803 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Diana Pantalos, email@example.com, or Tomy Molloy, firstname.lastname@example.org.