Health Institute Receives $325,000 Grant to Sustain Grass Roots Campaign

6/15/2012, 3:28 p.m.

Washington, D.C. - The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded a three-year, $325,000 grant to the Summit Health Institute for Research and Education (SHIRE) for a grassroots health-education initiative serving District residents in Wards 5, 7, and 8.

SHIRE will recruit and train ward residents about the causes and dangers of obesity, the importance of regular physical activity, the risks of consuming processed foods, gardening techniques, and healthful methods of food selection and preparation. The trained cohort of peer educators will actively share their knowledge within their families, neighborhoods, and communities.

"SHIRE is honored by the confidence that the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has placed in our work," said SHIRE Executive Director/CEO Ruth Perot. "In addition to the noticeable impact of peer educators in District communities, we have also seen the lives of peer educators' change as they become role models for others - losing weight, effectively managing diabetes and hypertension, and gaining confidence as spokespersons. Further, their paid work experience has opened doors to their professional and academic advancement."

SHIRE will identify teenagers and adults of all ages to include in the peer education program. After the completion of 40 hours of training, peer educators will engage community members in gardening demonstrations, trips to farmers markets, performances and other interactive word-of-mouth activities pertaining to health maintenance. SHIRE is committed to cultivating the enthusiasm and creativity of ward residents on issues of health so communities will unite to combat the high rates of health-related diseases and mortality in these wards of the nation's capital. Currently, within these wards' demographics, approximately 35% of children between the ages of ten and seventeen are obese, 29% of infants and toddlers are overweight, and 50 percent of households are afflicted with food insecurity or chronic hunger. SHIRE develops and promotes outreach programs that inspire residents to reverse these negative trends and address the critical health concerns in their communities.

Canary Girardeau, SHIRE senior program associate, attests to community interest in the health initiative.

"We observe residents talking and listening to each other," Girardeau said. "Peer educators provide dynamic and provocative presentations. There is give and take, and the resolution of issues is something they arrive at together. It is very powerful, and I am looking forward to the continuation and expansion of the project."

For more information about SHIRE and its programs, visit us at: www.shireinc.org