The Weller Health Education Center will teach parents and caregivers in the Pottstown area how to make healthy food and nutritional choices that positively impact their health and discover ways to stretch their food dollars. This free workshop will take place on Wednesday, March 28 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Rupert Elementary School, 1230 South St., Pottstown.
The workshop is part of a larger initiative to improve nutrition and reduce obesity among economically-disadvantaged families in Pottstown. With a grant from the Allen Foundation, nutrition experts from the Weller Center developed 12 nutrition education modules for Pottstown Family Center counselors to implement during home visits with families participating in the Parents as Teachers (PAT) program, a free, year-round program for families with children ages birth through five years.
During monthly visits with families, certified PAT counselors perform regular developmental screenings of the children to ensure they are developing on target.
“Proper nutrition and adequate exercise are critical to ensuring a child’s healthy physical, cognitive and emotional development. Although our counselors are highly skilled in assessing developmental delays, they may not always have strong backgrounds in nutrition education,” said Jenn Brown, director of the Pottstown Family Center.
To remedy this, Weller Center created 12 lessons for PAT counselors to implement during home visits. Lesson topics include: nutrition for newborns and infants, food allergies and nutrition, whole foods, food safety, picky eaters, eating healthy on a budget, meal planning and food shopping, and many more.
In January of 2012, health educators from the Weller Center trained Pottstown Family Center counselors on the basics of nutrition as well as how to successfully implement and evaluate the 12 nutrition lessons in the home with clients. The lessons are currently being presented and evaluated by Pottstown Family Center counselors among more than 30 families in Pottstown.
“By partnering with the Weller Center to enhance nutrition education for our families, we’ll be able to strengthen and improve early childhood development among the children we serve as well as reduce overweight and obesity among our families,” Brown added.
About the Pottstown Family Center
Established in 1993, the Pottstown Family Center offers support programs and services that help families learn, grow and achieve self-sufficiency. The Family Center aims to improve the quality and enhance the effectiveness of the delivery of health, education, and human services by centralizing, implementing, and coordinating community service. The Family Center is a place where families come together to share and support each other and learn about and benefit from our community’s resources. As one of Pennsylvania’s 48 state-funded Family Centers, the Pottstown Family Center takes a unique approach to meeting the needs of our community.
About the Allen Foundation
Established in 1975 by agricultural chemist William Webster Allen and based in Midland, Michigan, the Allen Foundation makes grants to projects that benefit human nutrition in the areas of education, training, and research.