United States

Medical Clinic Update

November 30, 2009

Carly Panchura

Throughout the fall, the Real Medicine Foundation has continued its community outreach programs at the Florence Western Medical Clinic (FWMC) in Los Angeles. We have partnered with Health Net to provide Nutrition/Obesity Prevention classes monthly. (Our next session is December 18th at 10am). The Health Net programs are taught by a certified instructor who teaches an interactive course targeting mothers concerned with obesity. Topics include diet, nutrition, vitamins and weight-loss. We provide physical therapy services through the assistance of Charmayne Cahn, who sees patients twice-monthly.

Since January 2009, the Real Medicine Foundation has hosted interactive, educational workshops and community outreach programs for children on Saturdays at the Clinic. Arts and crafts workshops are offered at the clinic the first Saturday of every month and are open to both children and parents. Example workshops include:

  • Finger knitting of belts and bracelets (focus: children’s dexterity)
  • “Personalized paper” construction with shaving cream and food coloring (focus: creativity)
  • Personalized Father’s Day cards (focus: emotional/family ties)

Through the Art Workshops, the children have begun to develop close ties with one another. Some will even wait outside the clinic with their parents for their friends to arrive, being that this may be one of the only times that they get the opportunity to see each other for the week. We have a regular group of 8-12 children ranging in age from 3 to 11. Volunteers Lisa Vacca and Colby Devitt provide reading and art several times a month. The books chosen focus on mental/emotional health which opens the children up for discussion on everyday stresses/challenges.

In addition, certified fitness instructor, Roz Baker, teaches fitness classes which include a health education component accompanying the demonstration and practice of practical exercises done to music. Whole Foods Market, Venice, CA provides healthy snacks to attendees of these classes. And certified yoga instructor, Jenny Zhi of Zhi Yoga has been teaching yoga classes since the program began in November 2007 with much success. Similar to the Health and Fitness classes, Yoga for Kids also includes a health education component. Whole Foods provides healthy snacks to attendees of these classes as well.

Attendees at the Yoga for Kids Classes are children from 4 to 15 years old (with some parents from time to time.) Along with traditional yoga poses, the class teaches breathing techniques to relax that can be taken and used at home. The pace of the class also promotes self-discipline, focus, and patience. The Yoga for Kids program itself aims to provide an alternative to traditional exercise for both children and parents.

Through the generous donations of Whole Foods, we have been able to support the nutritional and general household needs of the local community in South Los Angeles. Real Medicine Foundation’s Food Program has made it possible for Real Medicine to feed 20 families a day.

Donations of fresh fruit, vegetables, prepared meals, diapers, cleaning products, and clothing are delivered daily to our Florence Western Medical Center Monday through Friday by Real Medicine Volunteers. FWMC has recently cleared out their storage and installed a wonderful food bank. This room serves as a distribution center for our food program partnership with Whole Foods Venice. We have a number of volunteer drivers delivering food daily to the food bank, however are always looking for substitutes. If you are interested in helping out, please contact Sarah Stern at sarah@realmedicinefoundation.org.

Finally, we are exploring the potential for installing an organic garden on the back lot! Our first step is a fence and 4 planters for vegetables. The main purpose is to use the garden to educate children in the community about healthy eating. As the garden grows, and we get community members engaged, we may add more planters, fruit trees, or whatever we can manage! If you would like to help out with this project, please contact Carly Panchura at carly@realmedicinefoundation.org.