According to the 2014 State of the State’s Health Report, the leading causes of death in Jackson County and Harmon County are heart disease and cancer. In both Jackson County and Harmon County, one in five adults (20 percent) reported 3+ days with limited activity in the past month. These statistics illustrate why there are several needs to target Jackson County and Harmon County adult population, who will in turn influence the youth.
Another alarming concern about Oklahoma was included in the most recent National Assessment of Adult Literacy. It estimated 43 percent of Oklahoma’s adults function with the most basic or below-basic literacy skills of reading simple everyday literacy activities.
These statistics illustrate why there are several needs to target Jackson County and Harmon adult population. And for these reasons, the Great Plains Literacy Council wanted to address both health and literacy issues. This educational grant project has been made possible through the federal Library Services and Technology Act funding received through the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered through the Oklahoma Department of Libraries Literacy Services.
To start the project, the Great Plains Literacy Council welcomed Aleida Burchett and Italia Centeno as the Health Literacy Assistants in Jackson County and Harmon County. Both are employed as part-time grant staff. These health literacy assistants will make contacts with adult learners, especially the ESL population, to help them identify health and wellness goals and determine directions for learning the English language in reading, writing, and speaking. They will be recruiting tutors and learners and promoting the interactive Internet sessions with the Medline Plus resources in English and Spanish and with the News For You online weekly articles and exercises. Health educational displays have also been set up.
These staff members are also promoting the “Healthy, Happy, Hungry You!” health free workshops to be held on Monday late afternoons from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in April, starting April 4. The other sessions will be April 11, 18, and 25. All sessions will be at the Altus Public Library Meeting Room, 421 N. Hudson Street. Register by calling 580-477-2890 at the Altus Public Library.
Meegan Mackay will be the facilitator for the workshops. She is the founder of the Artes pro Vita Academy (AVA). The interactive workshops will focus around the three aspects of health, happiness and hunger to help men and women achieve enjoyment and success in life.
“Learning about health and the English language also go hand-in-hand with our literacy learners,” stated Aleida Burchett. “It has always been the literacy council’s mission to create more literate citizens. This project will help adult learners understand the English language while using health topics and resources.”
Contact the Altus Library at 580-477-2890 or the Hollis Library at 580- 688-2744 to find out the process to become a tutor or to register as an adult learner. The Great Plains Literacy Council office is located at the Altus Public Library, 421 N. Hudson, in Altus.