Our Faith-Based Wellness Program recently graduated its new Health Ministry at St. Jude Shrine of the West. Located in the Southcrest neighborhood of San Diego, sharing borders with Barrio Logan and National City, St. Jude ministers to a predominantly Latino and Spanish-speaking community. Our Faith-Based Wellness Program interns led a community assessment that provided input for the planning and content of the Health Ministry training. The training series was held over three months, on Monday mornings, and brought together over 30 community members from St. Jude’s. Training topics included: cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, nutrition and healthy cooking, Harvest of the Month, and mental health. Walks in the neighborhood or Zumba classes in the gathering hall reinforced the importance of physical activity for overall health and well-being at every class.
The success of the training series was possible due to our partnerships with the American Heart Association, Family Health Centers of San Diego, American Diabetes Association, and the National Alliance of Mental Illness. A special thanks to Mary Soriono who provided inspiration and volunteered her time from 24-Hour Fitness to lead Zumba classes. Members of the new Health Ministry shared the positive lifestyle changes they were able to make while attending, not just for themselves but also sharing their new knowledge with family members. They also expressed a strong interest to sustain the program and continue the culture of health and wellness at St. Jude. As one new Health Ministry leader told us: “Our community needs to know not only about faith but also about nutrition and exercise. This program was also a good opportunity to form new friendships with our St. Jude community.”