What Youth Want
MIKE Program connects with youth is by guiding them into peer-relationships that help them discover their leadership capacities and voice. We begin by listening to them. Each new school year, MIKE Program conducts a preliminary survey of each student to discover what they are expecting from the program. We were amazed to hear so many of them want some very basic things.
Youth in four health classes at De La Salle North Catholic High School overwhelming want to learn more about their kidneys and how to stay healthy. Most of the youth at the school are challenged daily by socio and economic issues which make it difficult to achieve a healthy lifestyle on their own. MIKE Program provides them with caring adult mentors who help them realize their own power in making healthy choices. No wonder a majority of the youth stated that they looked forward to learning about and sharing time with their mentors.
After an initial overview about kidneys, youth were drawn to how they can prevent kidney failure. MIKE Program President, Dr. Cheryl Neal, told an audience at “Are You Ready?” event on October 15 that after going through hands-on lessons about kidney function, “they begin to realize what they put into their body is important.” As they progress with MIKE Program this year, they will learn many ways they can prevent kidney failure and lead healthy lives for themselves and for their families. They will develop an understanding of the importance of nutrition and exercise, along with other health issues.
MIKE Program commits to the youth every week to empower them to become educated health consumers who can make decisions that will affect their lives now and throughout their lives. Your support means that more young people will avoid the trends of increasing obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure—all which lead to kidney failure. In turn, MIKE Program is building a new generation of health advocates not only for themselves, but for their families and communities.
MIKE Program Poster Featured at the OPHA Conference
Nichole Sage presented a poster featuring MIKE Program at the 67th Annual Oregon Public Health Association (OPHA) Conference at Oregon State University on Oct. 10. As one of a select group of presenters, Sage’s winning poster connected the prevention of chronic kidney failure with MIKE Program’s curriculum for youth. It was a win for Sage, a doctoral student at Pacific University, as well as for MIKE Program.
Sage’s conclusion in the poster stated, “Theoretically and conceptually, MIKE Program meets public health objectives to reduce the risk for CKD (chronic kidney disease) in disadvantaged populations. The next step for this program is to evaluate its effectiveness in meeting these goals.”
The conference brought together health professionals from throughout Oregon with dozens of forums and talks regarding almost every aspect of public health. MIKE Program’s inclusion in the poster presentation was a first for such an event. Sage, who coordinated the poster with Dr. Susan Li, associate professor of psychology at Pacific University, and with Dr. Cheryl Neal, president of MIKE Program. MIKE Program’s growing partnership with Pacific University will include extending our curriculum to youth in an afterschool program in Hillsboro later this year.
Sewing the Past into the Future
One of the experiences youth look forward to in their participation with MIKE Program is the t-shirt contest. It inspires youth to create designs and a message about the impact of MIKE Program and the importance of their kidneys. Over the years, the t-shirts have featured dozens of colors and messages as diverse as the youth who created them.
Combining them for a greater message was the idea of MIKE Program’s AmeriCorps Service Member for 2010-2011, Jess Himelfarb. Himelfarb, who discovered a large population of quilters in the Portland area, thought it would be a great way to leverage the talents of local quilters with MIKE Program. The result was an effort by Danielle Horn and Pamela Head with the first MIKE Program quilt.
The quilt was auctioned off at MIKE Program’s annual benefit dinner and auction on Oct. 1. Bernie Foster, publisher of The Skanner News Group, won the quilt with the highest bid. He wanted to ensure the quilt generated additional coverage, so he offered it in a contest at the first annual “Are You Ready?” event on Oct. 15. The event featured public health and safety resources for minorities and other disadvantaged populations in Portland. Six-year-old Jedidiah Ibe, who was patiently attending the conference with his father, Solomon, who works with Multnomah County Public Health Department, won the quilt. The quilt is sure to provide the youngster with warmth this winter and a message that will last a lifetime.
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