Wellness Initiative Employs Self-Advocate Healthy Educators

By Lindsey Mullis, MS, Health & Wellness Coordinator

The task of the health and wellness initiative at HDI is to raise awareness of health disparities and provide health education and motivation techniques for individuals to take charge of their health. This summer, HDI partnered with the Kentucky Division of Developmental Disabilities to offer training for the Healthy Lifestyles curriculum from University of Oregon. Twenty-nine individuals from 12 Kentucky organizations participated in the training with HDI to be certified instructors of the curriculum. Joining the ranks of new Healthy Lifestyle instructors are three young ladies with intellectual disabilities who will work with HDI’s wellness initiative as co-facilitators. They will assist in leading the Healthy Lifestyle workshops within the state in inclusive and integrated settings.

The Healthy Lifestyles curriculum embodies a holistic approach to health with a focus on self-determination. The ultimate goal of the workshops are to give participants the tools they need to assess their current lifestyles for healthy choices and identify goals and resources to make successful positive changes in those areas of interest. Certified instructors will lead the workshops and monthly follow-up sessions to help promote successful healthy living. Monica, one of the self-advocate educators, talked about her excitement at the job ahead: “It is helping other people to be healthy too. To get them to be more active and more energized and eat better foods.”

HDI health and wellness coordinator, Lindsey Mullis says, “I am incredibly enthusiastic about the innovation and success of the health and wellness initiative and am even more excited about the opportunity to have such fantastic self-advocates working with us as health educators. They really know how to motivate and inspire when it comes to health.”

For questions or to learn more about the initiative and how you can take steps to make healthy choices a part of your daily life, go to www.wellness4ky.org

[Photo features new Healthy Lifestyle instructors, Monica and Brandy, learning about heart rate.]