From Katie Souris, Care Counselor in the YWCA Preventive Health Department
Salsa, Sabor y Salud is a bilingual program within the National Latino Children’s Institute with curriculum designed to be implemented for Latino families in a variety of settings. This summer we partnered with UNCA, specifically the foreign language department, to offer the program at the YWCA where we have access to a fitness center, equipment, and cooking facilities.
One key characteristic of this program is that it is not simply a physical fitness and healthy eating program in Spanish, but that it hopes to improve the health of Latino families through education that honors and presents itself from a cultural framework that is distinctly Latino.
We recently completed a program which spanned 8 weeks with an hour and a half session on Monday morning and another on Wednesday morning, for a total of 3 hours a week, 16 classes total. Participants are able be full members of our Club W Fitness Center during the duration of the course.
Generally the classes start with parents and children together, we introduce and then recap the 4 key values of SSS: Eating foods from each food group every day, being sensible about portion size, being physically active every day, and “Pequenos Pasos,” or Small Steps to success.
Then we break the group up into kids and adults, the kids have a curriculum that follows the adult’s theme but is more geared around play and simple lessons. The adults (almost all women) have a separate discussion in more detail. Some of the key topics we’ve covered have been reading nutrition labels, cooking with herbs and spices to reduce sodium and fat intake, finding time for yourself and stress relief, healthy eating at family gatherings and reunions (there is a strong family focus in Latino life, lots of gatherings, eating together, traditional foods).
For our last week we had a fiesta, and gave participants the opportunity to tour the YWCA, meet with Katherine Hensley in New Choices to learn about all that it offers to families. Many of the participants have enrolled their kids in swim lessons and are swimming with their children; a unique opportunity for many of these families.
To find out more about this program, contact Katie Souris at 254-2706 x 106.