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Add volunteering to your resolutions

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If you’re looking to give back to your community in 2019, you might consider joining one of the Jackson County Community Health Action Team, JCCHAT, committees. Each of the five committees is made up of volunteers who focus on one or more aspects of community health and well-being.

JCCHAT began in 2002 under the Turning Point Initiative to provide services like free health clinics, car seat installation training for parents and caregivers, children’s fitness programs, alcohol compliance checks, transitional living programs and help create policy changes. The volunteers have helped Altus achieve status as an Oklahoma Certified Healthy Community, giving the City of Altus the opportunity to apply for approximately $50,000 in grants to fund health initiatives, programs and services. They also volunteered at Altus’ first Wellness Symposium in July that hosted guest speakers from local organizations and across the state.

The Tobacco, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Committee works to reduce the rate of substance consumption and abuse within Jackson County. They put on the annual Kick the Habit Kickball Tournament for fifth- and sixth-grade students in Jackson County that promotes kicking bad habits and embracing healthy activities. They meet at the Jackson County Health Department on the third Monday of the month at noon.

The Nutrition and Fitness Task Force works to increase the quality of health for Jackson County residents. These volunteers have been collecting body mass index (BMI) data from grade-school students in Jackson County on a voluntary basis for about five years. With parents’ permission and help from the schools, volunteers gather the information, provide it to parents and use it to examine how nutrition and exercise aid in childhood development. They meet at Jackson County Memorial Hospital on the fourth Monday of the month at noon.

The Community Health Team works to provide quality trauma-informed services and connections for families. This includes increasing awareness and services for victims of abuse and neglect, whether juvenile or adult, and any other form of trauma. The team works with local service providers specializing in mental health such as Red Rock Behavioral Health, in protective services such as the Department of Human Services and law enforcement agencies and in collaboration with liaisons at Altus Air Force Base. They meet at the Department of Human Services on the first Wednesday of the month at noon.

The Southwest Oklahoma Community Health Improvement Organization or SWOKCHIO, works to increase access to health services including transportation, elder care and general health care services. The committee helps put on Alzheimer’s awareness events and take surveys on transportation needs in the community. They are currently meeting once a quarter.

The Community Based Services committee works to increase community and family connections and focus on housing needs, mentoring and school-based services, teen pregnancy, foster care and faith-based services. They have been involved in teen abstinence programs for boys and girls, separately, through Freedom Church in Altus in 2018. They meet at the Chamber of Commerce on the third Wednesday of the month at noon.

If you’re not sure where you fit or what you would like to focus on, representatives from each committee meet for a collective JCCHAT meeting once a month to discuss their progress and upcoming projects. The meetings also provide newcomers with the opportunity to learn more about JCCHAT and the committees.

The next JCCHAT meeting is Wednesday, Jan. 9, at noon at Jackson County Memorial Hospital, second-floor meeting room. For more information, call JCCHAT Chair Liz Moon at (580) 477-4400.

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