A two-year, $100,000 grant from West Palm Beach-based Quantum Foundation will allow El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center to expand its health outreach and education program.
The money will finance the training of lay health advocates who will work to educate Jupiter-area residents on various health topics such as diabetes, nutrition, health issues in the workplace, domestic violence and addiction.
Diabetes will be the focus of the first phase of the program.
“We’ll be implementing a whole infrastructure called “Health Promoters,” El Sol Center Director Jocelyn Skolnik said. “We’re going to be training people we identify as leaders in our community on how to educate others on health issues. We’re going to be providing the training and all the materials to do this outreach.”
El Sol has partnered with the Rural Women’s Health Project in Gainesville, which will train the health promoters and oversee the project.
The goal of each volunteer will be to teach 10 others about the health topic of the month, expanding El Sol’s outreach efforts. In the past, those efforts have been limited to bringing health experts to talk with workers at El Sol.
“The whole concept is based on the difficulty of getting information to people that need it,” Skolnik said. “Word of mouth is important, specifically in the Hispanic community and minority communities. That tends to be a good way to reach people with this information.”
The center, which opened in 2006, connects workers with employers and homeowners needing day labor, and also provides occupational training, language and literacy instruction, counseling, health education, legal and other services to individuals in need.
Currently five health promoters have been recruited by El Sol, and they have reached 50 people. Skolnick estimates the program will have reached more than 1,500 people by the end of the two-year grant.
Quantum Foundation, formed in 2005, gives money to approved charitable and certain governmental entities serving Palm Beach County.
“We’re excited to support this kind of innovative project that aligns so well with our mission to create a healthier Palm Beach County,” said Kerry Diaz, president of Quantum Foundation. “We know that lay health workers provide a trusted bridge between the community and service providers, resulting in enhanced access to quality health care for all.”
For information, visit www.friendsofelsol.org.