BDO: How do I find the motivation to serve while facing my life demands (e.g., family stress, health challenges and work strain)?
Dr. W: This can be sometimes difficult as we all have life challenges, and motivation often comes from within. Time management is important, but even more important is the passion for the cause at hand ie: heart disease.
BDO: What must I do to become a change agent? Do I have to be a community leader first?
Dr. W: You don’t have to be a community leader to become a change agent, you just have to want to be one. Passion and commitment to your community are important and identifying what you want to change is tantamount!
BDO: What can I do to prepare my community for change? Do I need a lot of money or resources to get involved?
Dr. W: Different communities are affected by different health conditions. Preparing your communities will depend on what issue you are trying to change. You don’t need a lot of money but community resources are important for change to happen. For example, if you want to encourage your community to exercise more, safe parks and walk ways are important.
BDO: What barriers might I face in changing my community’s health?
BDO: What are 10 easy things I can do to impact a healthy change in my community?
1. Plant a garden
2. Organize a walking group with friends in your neighborhood
3. Start a fitness group at your local park
4. Provide healthy snacks for youth activities
5. Challenge your co-workers to ride their bikes or walk to work
6. Advocate for healthy vending machines at your office or community businesses
7. Organize a ride-share to the nearest grocery store for fresh fruits and vegetables (for food desert residents)
8. Initiate a CPR training in your community or share the CPR Anytime video with your friends
9. Advocate to take fried foods off of the menu at church or community events
10. Join our EmPowered to Serve online community to share and receive ideas and resources to proactively build a culture of health in your community through simple lifestyle changes
BDO: How can I get my friends and family involved in changing our community’s health?
Dr. W: [You] can get friends involved in changing your community’s health by first asking them. You won’t know until you ask. Then lead by example, i.e.: Participate in the walking group that you started or ride your bike to work if you ask them to do the same. Change Agents don’t have to be the experts in everything but they have to be actively involved in what they want to change.
BDO: Can children be health change agents? If so, how?
Dr. W: Children can absolutely be health change agents. In many cases, they are the inspiration for change. Especially like childhood obesity. They don’t need to experts but if working with an older or more seasoned Change Agent, they can help impact change among their peers and even adults. The key to being a Change Agent is [to] want to change something.
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BDO: What are some tips to keep myself and my community motivated and healthy?
Dr. W: Set small measurable goals that will help you get to your big goal ie: Weight Loss
Keep a food and exercise journal
Enlist Support from your friends and family
Don’t let one set back keep you from working toward your goal
Team up with a friend and hold each other accountable for eating and exercise.