What do you get when you mix a health educator (Telia Jones), a social worker (Norma Mason), a nutritionist (Delinda Horton), and a top-class chef (Leroy Musgraves from Mandela Marketplace) with some expecting mothers, their partners, fun activities, dancing, and some games and prizes? You get a class creating healthy mommies! You also get LOTS OF FUN!
Telia, Norma and Delinda are three maternal and child health workers from the West Oakland Health Center; they are a part of the Food 2 Families Program through Alameda County Public Health Department. The program provides services to 20 pregnant women with nutritional food, health education, and field trips. The women meet twice a month for fun, health education, food demonstrations, games, prizes and physical exercise. This time the physical exercise session was the dance “Cupid’s Shuffle,” which is a form of line dancing to rhythmic music, and generally performed at festive gatherings with multiple people. We danced for seven minutes which was approximately one song. The seven minutes went by so fast; the participants didn’t realize how easy, quick and fun exercising can be when you are enjoying it. As I participated, I looked around and saw the women having a great time. The facilitators then conducted educational games regarding seasonal fruits and vegetables. The women had the chance to win some pretty great prizes including measuring cups, oven mitts and cookbooks. Appropriately, free cookbooks were used as the women’s text books. The participants used their text books for a cooking demonstration where they learned step by step how to prepare seasonal dishes. After a little dancing, food, and games the women reflected on what they learned and how they will apply the information to better their health outcomes and the health outcomes of their families. Each class has a new twist, a new menu, new fellowship, and new health education to be learned to improve the health of these mommies!
Do you know any expecting mothers who live in the West Oakland area who would benefit from the Food to Families program? If so, please contact West Oakland Health Council and ask for Norma Mason.