Alcorn’s Health and Wellness Program changes lives in Mississippi

Alcorn’s Health and Wellness Program changes lives in Mississippi

“We all want to live longer and healthier lives and Alcorn’s Health and Wellness Program helped us to get on the right track,” shared Vicksburg resident and Triumphant Baptist Church member Aletia Williams. “We are excited and thankful to Alcorn for bringing the program to our community.”

The Health and Wellness (H&W) Program of the Alcorn State University Extension Program (ASUEP) was developed in 2010 to empower program participants in the state of Mississippi to improve their quality of life, adapt healthier lifestyles, and achieve health sustainability for longer and more fulfilling lives.

The program began with testing of the following components, physical fitness, nutrition, and home and community gardening. And in 2011, during the implementation phase all components were merged into a holistic approach titled the “Power of 3”. The participating groups are learning how to grow home gardens, make wise nutrition choices and increase their daily physical activity during a series of group meetings. Since 2011, some 185 people have participated in the program.

“This program is expanding rapidly,” stated Dr. Dalton H. McAfee, Extension administrator. “It is now transferring from educator-based to volunteer-based, and the vision for the future is to expand to the entire community.”

On December 5, 2013, Extension staff and volunteers had a chance to visit three program sites, Shape Up Sisters fitness center and Triumphant Baptist Church both in Vicksburg, and Sand Hill Baptist Church in Brandon. They saw the ASUEP model plan in action, received the detailed information about the program’s progress at each site, and spoke with community leaders and program participants to gather testimonials and observations. The group evaluated the progress and took note of the needed improvements to fine tune the program to achieve even greater effectiveness.
“The ‘Power of 3’ approach proved to be very successful,” stated Gerald Jones, regional coordinator for ASUEP. “Elderly community members who adopt all three components report that they feel better, move more freely and require less medication than before entering the program. Young participants enjoy fitness activities and our volunteers work tirelessly to extend the knowledge to as many community members as possible. This shows that the program is on the right track.”

Linda Fondren, owner of Shape Up Sisters, stated, “We are elated to partner with Alcorn’s Health and Wellness Program to fight obesity, poverty and lack of physical activity in the county and the state.”

Sand Hill community member, Dr. Linda Taylor, spoke on the benefits of the program, “As I matriculated through the program, I learned to be more aware about my body and more conscious about the food that I consume. I enjoy exercising twice a week. Also, I learned to read labels before I purchase food items and incorporated healthier recipes into my family’s daily routine.”

Johnson Lenton, Sand Hill Church member, agreed with Taylor and added, “During our meetings we share ideas on gardening, for example, how to grow your own food without harmful chemicals. We also plan to start a community garden. I just want to thank Alcorn employees and administration for doing great things in the community and helping Mississippi to get healthier.”

To show the appreciation for the program, Triumphant Baptist Church chose ASUEP as the recipient of its 2013 Humanitarian Award that will be presented on Saturday, December 21, 2013, at Kings Community Center in Vicksburg.

For more information on the program, please contact Gerald Jones at [email protected] or 601.857.0250.

<img title="1111113 a Health and Wellness" style="BORDER-BOTTOM: 0px solid; BORDER-LEFT: 0px solid; WIDT