hcfThe Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) in 2010 launched a comprehensive $500,000 Faith Community Health initiative to support faith communities interested in promoting whole person health in Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville by establishing faith community nursing programs. And the programs are thriving.

It is all part of the Foundation’s efforts to help build the healthiest community in the country.

Faith community health programs promote spiritual, physical, or emotional health. The programs help people understand the connection between faith and health, and assist the congregation in its mission to promote abundant and full life for its members. The goal is for people of all ages to adopt healthy lifestyles and become better informed so they can make healthier life choices. This will result in healthier communities and an improved, sustainable quality of life for our local residents.

The spiritual nature of faith communities makes them uniquely equipped to support the health and wholeness of their members, whether it is through faith community nurses or other programs designed to meet the specific needs of the community.

WPHF enlisted the support of Florida Hospital’s Healthy 100 Church Ministry to assist grantees in the planning, development and operation of their program.

As a result of the program, grants have been awarded to local faith communities to establish faith community nursing programs and related activities.

Most recently, WPHF, awarded $42,532 in grants to local faith communities to expand their healthy programs and activities.

They include:

First United Methodist Church of Winter Park – Awarded $7,468 to provide Falls Prevention classes, a Living  Healthy with Chronic Conditions course, health education forums, healthy eating classes, and “Bicycle Blessings” to provide bikes to children in need.

Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, Eatonville – Awarded $7,500 to provide health education classes, health screenings, portable gardens, exercise programs, cooking demonstrations and brain health programs for older adults.

St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church, Altamonte Springs – The Health and Wellness Ministry at St. Mary Magdalen Parish was awarded $7,345 to encourage better nutrition by educating people about the benefits of gardening and growing their own food. The project involves setting up a demonstration Grow Box Garden on the Adult Center patio and developing a community garden in the Convent yard.

Redeemer Lutheran Church, Winter Park – The Redeemer Lutheran Church Health Cabinet asked its congregation to complete a Health and Wholeness survey in July 2011 which identified the members’ desire for help with stress management.  To help meet that need, the church was awarded $7,500 to provide Laughter Yoga classes for stress management, socialization and increased opportunities for activity. The congregation’s Faith Community Nurse will provide additional information to participants about meditation and other stress management techniques.  The Laughter Yoga Instructor will train three leaders to teach the class so the program can be sustained.

Warner Chapel Outreach Ministries, Winter Park – Awarded $7,500 to provide a 90-day “Get Fit” program that includes initial health screenings, intake assessments and a variety of nutrition and exercise opportunities for up to 75 persons.  Participants will journal their activities and share success stories.

First Presbyterian Church of Maitland – Awarded $5,219 to provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Automated External Defibrillators (AED), and First Aid training for members of the congregation, the majority of whom are elderly.  The Faith Community Nurse and one other member of First Presbyterian Church will be trained to teach CPR and AED so the expertise can be carried to other members of the church.

For more information on Faith Community Nursing, go to the International Parish Nurse Resource Center website at www.parishnurses.org

For more information on the Florida Hospital Center for Community Health Ministry, go to: www.parishnursing.net