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RMF Los Angeles Outreach Program Update

June 08, 2011 - United States

by Sarah Stern

Annual Report for RMF Outreach program at the Florence Western Medical Clinic

Real Medicine’s partnership with Whole Foods Market, Venice, California is continuing successfully. In the last 12 months, 1,728 patients were provided with bags of nutritious groceries. Patients sign up at the Florence Western Medical Center’s front desk to be considered to receive food. We are looking into additional partnerships with organizations and grocery stores that would be able to meet the growing dietary needs within this community.

Our children’s Health & Fitness program is held the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month, from 10am-2pm. Fitness instructor Roz Baker provides nutritional education and goals along with a fitness “boot camp” that provides children with fun, yet challenging exercises and a cardiovascular workout. Our yoga instructors provide the children with stress relieving breathing techniques and poses that they can take into their daily lives. 144 children were provided Health & Fitness instruction along with yoga and nutritional classes last year. The physical condition of most of the children participating in the program starts out as poor.

Many have very little cardiovascular fitness, are weak and some are obese. Our experience shows that after a few classes the kids understand the importance of being healthy and how it is in their own power to get healthy and fit. Regular attendees now request us to create exercises for them to take home and several children have started to lose weight. The majority of the kids live in areas where parks are dangerous, and few and far between. This program gives them the knowledge and confidence to take control of their health. Our goal is that it will transfer to all aspects of their lives.

Real Medicine Foundation believes in focusing on the “whole” child. In Sri Lanka, following the Tsunami of December 2004, we found the use of art therapy extremely beneficial in helping children to deal with the tremendous trauma they had experienced, to relieve post-traumatic stress and to open the door to communication.

The children of South Los Angeles face many emotional challenges, such as gang violence in the streets where they live, homelessness, unemployment and despair of their parents or caregivers on a daily basis, and our goal is to provide them with a safe atmosphere to be able to express themselves. Thus, we provide art, reading and specialized workshops as these services are unavailable within their community. Real Medicine will continue to expand this program by providing summer programs as well, i.e. a “Back to School” drive which will provide all children with new backpacks, school supplies as well as vouchers that can be used for clothing and shoes.

132 adults attended our “Healthy Living” workshops provided by our partner Health Net. Workshops educate the patients about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and how to incorporate it in their daily lives. Dietary suggestions as well as low-impact exercises are presented, along with encouragement to quit smoking and limit alcohol use. 80% of all patients who participate are suffering ailments due to obesity, poor dietary and lifestyle choices.

Our annual holiday party was held on December 18th, 2010 where 65 children received over $2,000 worth of toys, books and sports equipment donated by Northrop Grumman Corporation. We are looking forward to this year’s holiday and expect it to provide even more items and gifts for the families.

Four times a month, Real Medicine provides physical therapy sessions with a licensed Physical Therapist, Charmayne Cahn. In the past year over 25 patients (with a 50% return rate) received physical therapy sessions. The majority of patients are seeking treatment for injuries due to strokes, arthritis, falls and automobile accidents.

Our program continues to grow each year, and with the possibility of additional funding promises to provide even more services for patients including a registered dietician, Lifestyle counseling, field trips to cultural activities centers for the children and transportation to music programs, grief counseling and other free community services provided within Los Angeles. Depending on funding, we also aim to resume our Psychological Trauma Support Program since it is desperately needed in the community we are serving.

To contribute to this initiative, please visit our website at realmedicinefoundation.org/donate.

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