PROJECT GOAL: (1) To create awareness of the risk factors for asthma, showing the relationship between asthma and obesity and, consequently, to decrease the number of asthma attacks and emergency room visits by 80% among residents of public housings and other residents of the Bronx, particularly the South Bronx. (2) To teach that obesity is preventable through maintaining a healthy weight via moderate to vigorous regular physical activities and eating sensible portions of healthy foods. (3) To teach effective control of asthma through a comprehensive plans that address medical management of the disease and avoidance of environmental triggers. (4) To inspire youth to be concerned about environmental issues and become stewards of the environment.
PROBLEM: ASTHMA AND OBESITY IN THE SOUTH BRONX
Asthma is a serious lung disease. During an asthma attack, the airways get narrow, making it difficult to breath. Asthma has no cure, but it can be controlled. Asthma is a leading cause of long-term illness in children. Its attacks restrict people’s activity and are a leading cause of absences from school and work. In some cases it can result in death. Asthma burden falls disproportionately on the black and Hispanic minorities, especially on minority children. These groups have excessively high rates of poor asthma outcomes, including hospitalizations and deaths. This burden has environmental, socioeconomic, and behavioral causes. An estimated half a million New Yorkers now suffer from this incurable illness, which is more than 6% of the population. But the Bronx County has some of the worst or highest rates of asthma in New York State and the United States - about three times higher than the national average. It is estimated that 20% of the children living in the south Bronx, particularly, have asthma, according to a report by New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Asthma may be triggered by allergens and irritants that are common in homes. “We don't know what causes asthma,” so says Jeffrey Klein, State Senator who represents the Bronx. “. But we do know what exacerbates the disease, and it's certainly toxins in the environment like second-hand smoke." In our campaign, we identify asthma triggers and teach risks reduction.
The South Bronx area, in which we will continue the project, is comprised of five community districts. Its total population in 2000 stood at 522,412, which represents about 40% of the population of the whole Bronx. 39% of this population is Black and 60% is Hispanic. This represents a higher percentage of Blacks and Hispanics than resides in the whole Bronx County, the City, and New York State. The percentages of the population that are Black and Hispanic are above Federal guidelines that define minority populations for the purposes of identifying environmental justice issues associated with federal actions.
Along with ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity are a range of “social and economic problems in the district, namely; low rate of literacy, school drop-out among our youths. The South Bronx, “both in percentage and population, has the highest school drop-out rates of all New York City’s five boroughs…. Roughly, one-third of all South Bronx adults do not have a high school degree. The Bronx County, especially South Bronx, has the lowest labor force participation rate (51.6%) of any county in the country. Fewer than one out of every two residents of the Bronx who are able to work are employed.”
In the summer months, youths 11 years and older participate in the program. They are trained to teach residents of public housings, particularly, and other South Bronx residents to identify, eliminate or avoid the environmental triggers of asthma in their homes. They develop materials and conduct recreational activities that focus on controlling asthma and reducing obesity. The summer activities end with a street fair which the participants organize. In the 2011 summer, array of health service providers, such as United Doctors Inc, St. Barnabas Hospital, Wellcare Inc; the New York City Department of Health, and several individuals in the community attended our health fair and shared useful information. Blood pressure and other health screenings were conducted free of charge.
In the summer of 2011, a total of 98,000 literatures on assortment of topics addressing asthma, obesity and other community needs were given out to a total of 3000 people in our community presentations, health fairs, workshops, food distributions and seminars. From pre and post workshops questionnaires, 85% or 2975 of the respondents reported greater awareness of asthma and obesity issues and a readiness for habits and lifestyle changes.
We plan to continue this project year-round as follows:
We will run the project for fifteen hours weekly in an after-school sessions (five days weekly) beginning on November 2011. We already have signed a collaboration agreement with the school and intend to reach out to other middle and high schools in the Bronx as feeder schools to recruit 60 -150 students, and their families for the program. We will adopt project-based approach to implement the project. For two hours on weekdays and three hours on weekends, we will blend assortment of academic enhancing tutorials with exciting and innovative hands-on recreational activities focused on improving the participating students’ school grades and reducing the risks of obesity and asthma.
We will involve residents of public housing and reward them with needed hours of community service to keep their tenancy. Students in the project will also receive incentives and community service credits to apply towards their graduation. Also, qualified past summer youth workers will be hired as part-time workers in the project.
WHAT WE NEED:
Program materials needed include, computers, projectors and screens, give-away gift items to be distributed during presentations; photocopy machines and papers, printers, storage cabinets, fax machines, ink cartridges, table top and other supplies.
Currently Funds are being developed through campaigns targeting foundations, corporations and our community leaders including our on-going supporters.
HOW YOU CAN HELP.
1. In support of the project, you can donate as little as $5.00. or more and join our fight against obesity and asthma.
2. You can recommend the project to your employer for marching funds or sponsorship.
3. You can recommend the project to foundations for funding or give us funding leads.
4. You can spread the word about the project in your social network sites and invite your friends to join.
5. You can join us as a volunteer in the project.
YOU CAN DONATE SAFELY VIA PAYPAL ON THIS WEBSITE. DONATIONS ARE SAFE AND SECURED.
NOTE: All donations to Christ Disciples International Ministries, Inc are income tax deductible.
Christ Disciples International Ministries, Inc (CDIM) is a 501 (C) (3) organization. We are located in the South Bronx’s Community District (CD) #3, within the 16th Congregational District of New York State. CDIM has an independent board of directors, composed of seven professional women and men including a youth who represents other young people involved in the project. CDIM'S board of trustees is in charge of the organization’s overall fiscal guidance, policy formulation and on-going management oversight. Our activities’ areas are: Spiritual enrichment, Education and Youth Leadership, Environmental Health, Food and Nutrition, including Immigration and Citizenship. For more information about our programs, please call: (646) 294-7726.