MIKE Program Project Update:
Each week, 13 MIKE Program mentors work with 65 youth at De La Salle North Catholic High School, a private Catholic high school serving low-income urban youth in north Portland, and Miller Education Center West, an alternative school in rural Hillsboro, Oregon. Each mentor is in charge of a small group of 4 youth. Each session begins with a healthy snack and water introducing youth to new and healthy foods, teaching them about portion size and the importance of staying hydrated. An exercise component is also incorporated into each session with youth-led stretch band exercises. Throughout the term, youth are working continuously on setting and achieving individual health goals.
Since September, youth have been learning about kidneys and the role kidneys play in our overall health through interactive games and activities. In October, small groups made a “kidney” using their new knowledge of the kidney anatomy, how kidneys work, and the functions of the kidneys in cleaning our blood. Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, risky behaviors, and adverse life circumstances all contribute to kidney failure. Youth engaged in a blood pressure clinic. Health professionals from their community visited their classroom, explaining what blood pressure is and how it is measured. Each student was given the opportunity to have his/her own blood pressure taken as well as taking a blood pressure reading of someone else.
On November 2nd, MIKE Program youth and their mentors took a field trip to several dialysis clinics. They interviewed dialysis patients and staff and toured the facilities, providing them with a different perspective of how chronic disease impacts the lives of their neighbors. Learning about health careers and taking charge of their own health guides them to become health leaders.
Youth from De La Salle North Catholic High School reflected on their experience at the dialysis clinics:
“I learned how important it is to control our diet. More than I had ever before.”
“I learned that taking care of myself now can greatly improve my future. If I don’t then it’ll worsen my future.”
“Even people my age have to go to dialysis.”
In the coming weeks, MIKE Program’s focus shifts from health education to community outreach and service-learning. To reach out to their communities, each youth group will create a T-shirt and develop a worthy final project of their choice to share with their community. MIKE Program mentored teens devise a service project about the role obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and risky behaviors play in kidney failure. As they become healthy “experts” our communities benefit from their new-found knowledge, enthusiasm and self-confidence.
For every person willing to diversify our strength by joining the roster of volunteers: Thank you! You do make a difference. For every donor who so generously gives what you have to offer: Thank you! You, too, make a real difference with your gift. We welcome your financial contributions, your ideas and time, and inquiries in the upcoming year and beyond. Please contact us at 503 296-7705 or through www.mikeprogram.org.
Your faith in the value and durability of our work inspires us every day to help teens find a reason to be healthy! Together we will Reach up, Reach out, Reach back!
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