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The 2015 Wellness Promotion Policy Annual Report
The School District of Palm Beach County, Florida
External Collaboration - Caridad Center

Caridad Center provides comprehensive medical and dental care for the uninsured working poor of Palm Beach County. It is a community effort of over 400 medical, dental, and support volunteers which save taxpayers $4.8 million annually.

The mission of the Caridad Center is to upgrade the health, education, and living standards of underserved children and families. The Caridad Center’s vision is to eliminate the cycle of poverty for the families that are served in South Florida. Caridad’s mission is accomplished through three distinct programs:

  • default_title

    Caridad Health Clinic (CHC) provides free quality medical and dental health care for 5,058 patients, both children and adults, who do not qualify for government programs. There were 26,057 patient visits last year. Additionally, 8,000 people received health education in community settings through events, workshops, and classes.

  • default_titleHomework Assistance Program provides homework assistance, literacy and enrichment activities for up to 40 elementary school children.
  • default_titleCommunity Outreach Services provides emergency assistance for food, clothing, college scholarships, shelter, hurricane relief, as well as holiday parties and gifts for more than 2,000 children and their families annually.

    Learn More
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Prevention, Education & Treatment Childhood Obesity Program (PET) - Healthy Family Program
The PET Program’s Healthy Family Program, targets low-income, elementary and middle school children primarily from homes with no English-speaking parent present.

The Goal of the PET - Healthy Family Program is to identify and address chronic diseases prevalent in Hispanic, Haitian, and African American families in Palm Beach County that can respond to prevention and education.

The program continues to assess, identify, educate, and treat obesity as a contributor to other chronic conditions. It employs an inter-generational approach to reach all members of the family from the first to the third generation with health education and counseling. The program is culturally sensitive and staff and volunteers who are fluent in English, Spanish, and Creole provide services. It serves all Palm Beach County residents who are low income and uninsured.

The PET Healthy Family Program is a community-based, family-centered, health care program that aims to improve the lifestyle, diet, and emotional health of the child and his or her family. Staff and volunteers screen children and adults at all outreach activities as well as at Caridad Center’s clinic. Patients found to be at-risk for, or who are diagnosed with, one or more chronic diseases, are referred to the program. Children found to be obese, or grossly overweight, receive family-centered counseling. A treatment plan is formulated for the child and the family’s specific needs. Patients are encouraged to start lifestyle changes that include a healthier diet and exercise. An individual treatment plan is developed and PET staff works closely with the patient and clinician in its implementation.

Program Methods
  • default_titleOutreach to at-risk communities
  • default_titleGroup Education Classes
  • default_titleHealth Fairs
  • default_titleOne-on-one family-centered prevention, education, and counseling for program families.
  • default_titleCollaboration with community partners
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Program Activities
  • default_titleAssessment and screening at Caridad Center and community events to determine risk for obesity
  • default_titlePromotion of a healthy lifestyle (nutrition/physical activity) individual and in groups
  • default_titleNutrition, exercise, and lifestyle modification education classes open to all
  • default_titleAnnual onsite Health Fair
  • default_titleParticipation in other agencies' community events or health fairs
  • default_titleOne-on-one family centered prevention, education, and counseling for families
  • default_titleWork with families to monitor their individual goals and activities
  • default_titleCollaboration with community partners in obesity prevention
  • default_titleClinical treatment for obesity and other chronic illnesses
  • default_titleReferrals to primary care physicians for those found at risk for obesity or other chronic disease(s)
  • default_titleBreast cancer education and awareness at community events
  • default_titleHIV testing and prevention education at Caridad Center and community events
  • default_titleHome visits to patients to observe their environment in order to assist them in making the necessary changes to overcome obstacles that will allow them to follow their plan of care for the successful treatment of their chronic disease(s)
  • default_titleRecruitment and training of peer educators for target communities
  • default_titleHealthy food preparation demonstrations and supermarket tours
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Activities in Partnership with The School District of Palm Beach County
Physical Education Program Grant

The Caridad Center continues to increase their efforts in reaching children and families in Palm Beach County and has partnered with the School District of Palm Beach County in a 3-year Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant. This program seeks to improve healthy behaviors and decrease obesity factors in middle school students by improving PE programs, focusing community outreach, and offering family-focused obesity interventions. The program goals are accomplished through the implementation of: the SPARK Physical Education curriculum, Family Funs Nights at select middle schools, Caridad Center’s Healthy Family Program for students and families found at-risk for chronic diseases. By the end of year three of the grant, all 33 middle schools in Palm Beach County will have participated in program activities.

The following ten middle schools were recruited to participate in PEP Grant activities for the 2014-2015 school year:
  • Boca Raton Middle School
  • default_titleCongress Middle School
  • default_titleCrestwood Middle School
  • default_titleH.L. Watkins Middle School
  • default_titleLake Worth Middle School
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  • default_titleL.C. Swain Middle School
  • default_titleOkeeheelee Middle School
  • default_titleOsceola Creek Middle School
  • default_titlePahokee Middle School
  • default_titleVillage Academy Middle School
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During the program’s first year, Caridad Center staff:
  • default_titleHosted ten Family Fun Nights
  • default_titleConducted ten cooking demonstrations to 561 participants
  • default_titleConducted ten nutrition demonstrations to 427 participants
  • default_titleConducted ten oral health demonstrations to 504 participants
  • default_titleConducted a total of 452 biometric health screenings (BMI, cholesterol, glucose, and blood pressure)
  • default_titleGave away prizes (including basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, volley balls, jump ropes, and more) to encourage students and their parents to participate in the events
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Community Events, Workshops, and Classes
The PET Program continues to go into Palm Beach County schools and other community organizations to participate in health events and dictate classes and workshops, educating adults and children in healthy lifestyles, nutrition, and physical activity. Collaboration with the Palm Beach County School District has taken place at the following schools and other locations:
  • South Grade Elementary School
  • default_titleVillage Academy Elementary School
  • default_titleHighland Elementary School
  • default_titleCarver Middle School
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  • default_titleAllamanda Elementary School
  • default_titleForest Hill Community High School
  • default_titleGreenacres Elementary School
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Note: Health Events, classes, and workshops in these six schools were in addition to the middle schools in which PEP Grant activities were held.
Health Fair at Caridad Center

The School District of Palm Beach County participated in Caridad Center’s Annual Family Festival health fair through the School Food Service (SFS) Department and Adult & Community Education. SFS offers students the opportunity to select nutritious meals every day for breakfast and lunch. Adult & Community Education offers GED classes and testing, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), Family Literacy, and Classes for Fun & Leisure. The Family Festival was held on Saturday, November 8, 2014. A total of 515 participants attended the event and 694 health screenings were completed.

Partnership Activities
  • BRIDGES – Caridad Center has recently begun a new collaboration with BRIDGES at Lake Worth, a program that connects families to community resources for health improvement of children across Palm Beach County. BRIDGES is currently promoting capacity building for the population they serve through a series of workshops, which now include some classes provided by the Caridad Center. These classes include: Healthy Families, Cooking Demonstrations, Physcial Activity, and Supermarket Tours.

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    Community Call to Action on Obesity Coalition – This community entity addresses obesity in Palm Beach County. Caridad Center is part of the coalition and actively supports events and programs developed by the coalition.

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    Diabetes Coalition of Palm Beach County – Caridad Center staff are active participants in this coalition. It was formed to educate the Palm Beach County community on the prevention and management of diabetes.

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    School District of Palm Beach County (SDPBC) – SDPBC personnel serve on the PET Healthy Family Program’s Advisory Board and their contribution continues to be crucial in the development of the program. In the 2013-2014 school year SDPBC awarded Caridad Center the Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant to decrease factors of obesity in middle school students in Palm Beach County.

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During one of the nutrition demonstrations, a woman told one of the Health Promoters that no one had ever explained nutrition to her the way we did and thanked us for what we are doing for the people in the community.
“The Change of habits in the way we eat, has now benefited the whole family.” Her husband is cooperating so they and their children are beginning to become aware of the importance of healthy eating.
A participant is now helping her best friend lose weight by following the recommendations given in the classes.
Thank you to the PET Health Educators. I was referred to the soup kitchen and I was able to have food! And they explained to me how to eat healthy and control my condition.
Father Dan from St. Mark Church, called us to tell us that he is very impressed with the work we are doing in the community.
A participant lost 20 lbs. since enrolling in our program. She saw herself not in good shape and decided to take control of her life.
A patient was having an asthma attack and he didn't know, that's what was causing the High BP, Dr. called it "laborious breathing" he is now taking meds. And really thankful for our intervention.
Thank you for helping me with my diabetes condition, I was really sick underweight, I didn’t have money to spend on food. With the home visit program, they referred me to a church for food pantry and some cash for food. God Bless you!
Thank you so much for the beautiful program of Home Visit. My educator Rocio Rodriguez was great. In January 2015 my A1C was 14.9% and now June 2015 my A1C is 6%. Thank you so much! I feel great.
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