The next Sunday you slide into your pew at church you may just find something extra tucked into your hymn book. The American Diabetes Association is teaching diabetes awareness to Black congregations across the country with the Project POWER program.
Today 4.9 million Blacks have diabetes and this number is increasing at an astonishing rate, Ernestine Walker, director of community outreach for the American Diabetes Association, tells BET.com. In an effort to educate the entire family and lower our risk the association has created Project POWER, a faith-based program especially geared toward the Black community.
Project POWER was developed to integrate and promote diabetes awareness using the cornerstone of Black culture: Church and family. The program has activities and lessons to educate and improve the health of people living with diabetes and prevention for their friends and families.
“The church is still a trusted source of information. By providing the church with information you’re casting a big net,” says Walker.
Your church can start the program anytime and has up to one year to finish with the option to repeat as many times as needed. The program, which partners with various community organizations including Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. and Shriners International, is free.
“It often brings me joy to know that someone who has been a diabetic for over 20 years can leave our workshops with information they never knew before,” said Lisa Kelly Smith, chairperson for the DC Project Power Program. Even greater is to have diabetics commit and take action to take better care of themselves, or a loved one, as result of attending the workshops.”
Project POWER is organized into five workshops that address diabetes awareness, education, prevention and management for all ages.
— Diabetes Day serves as an ice breaker for the congregation. Either the pastor or a selected member of the church is designated to speak about diabetes, its severity and how to prevent it. After the conclusion of service the speaker will be on hand to distribute educational materials on diabetes and the workshops that will follow.
— POWER Over Diabetes focuses on educating the participants on diabetes, management of the condition and the ways in which the disease can be treated.
— Fit for the Master’s Use addresses the significance that exercise as well as reaching and maintaining a healthy weight can have on diabetes management. The workshop will showcase realistic forms of exercise and how to sneak them into your day across all schedule types and fitness levels.
— Taste and See will be zeroing in on creative ways to incorporate healthy meals and eating habits into their daily lives. The workshop will touch on healthier alternatives for favorite dishes and how to identify what a correct portion size is.
— A Clean Heart will bridge the gap between diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and how to avoid all three.
— Train Up a Child is a workshop to promote awareness regarding the growing problem of Type 2 diabetes among Black children and offers ways to help younger generations to strive to be healthier. The group will learn how to encourage healthier eating for the children in their lives, more exercise and an overall healthier lifestyle. All activities during this workshop will encourage family involvement and interaction while working towards a common health goal.
For more information on hosting a Project POWER program visit the American Diabetes Association.