Health and wellness has become a vital part of OIC. According to Americas Health Rankings 2017, Oklahoma is ranked #43 due to the following factors; lack of exercise, poor diet, and lack of general access to health information. Poor health and lack of access to information has created health issues such as obesity, chronic conditions, and stress. Overall, Oklahoma is unhealthy and uninformed. OIC wants to change these unhealthy pasterns. It is OIC’s goal to promote health literacy and encourage prevention and wellness.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Persons with limited literacy skills are more likely to have chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or asthma, and are less likely to manage them effectively.” OIC has partnered with medical experts, nutritionists, and trainers to provide classes and workshops for our students, staff, and community
Students help make our garden grow, they often find the physical movement and chance to get outside a nice break in their academic routine. Often, OIC students often have difficulty stretching their food dollars. A TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) student had no food at home. She was able to take home lettuce, kale, cabbage and some tomatoes to help feed herself and her daughter.
A Students Story
Vernessa Carr, OIC GED graduate, participated in the Health Literacy presentations. She was skeptical at first but was “drawn to the hands on presentations” and loved tasting new foods. The information and material presented encouraged her to pay attention to nutrition facts as well as gave her confidence to experiment with new foods at home. Adding new things to her diet such as fruit and nuts, fish two times a week, more vegetables and decreasing meat consumption, she soon saw a 50 pound weight loss. Vernessa feels better, inside and out, and has noticed a decrease in asthma. Vernessa says, “Without the Health Literacy presentations, I would not have any changes in my eating habits.”
Student Community Garden
OIC’s student community garden was created in 2017. The project began with a simple potted herb workshop, where participants learned about growing mint. From that initial workshop our “Student Community Garden Project” has ‘blossomed’ and has quickly become a much larger garden project. We owe a lot of gratitude to a committed volunteer tutor, Samina Karim, whom initially proposed the organic garden idea for the students. Karim, successfully found investors and volunteers to build three raised garden beds. We have grown tomatoes, okra, kale, basil, rosemary, lettuce, green peppers, cauliflower, broccoli. This growing season we will expand our garden to include edible flowers, herbs, and more!