Catashya Caldwell, Promise Zone resident and Twin Rivers Peer Health Leader, utilizes the knowledge she has gained through the With Every Heartbeat is Life (WEHL) program to educate and empower her community to lead healthier lives.
Catashya Caldwell is a Promise Zone resident who first heard about a health and wellness program called With Every Heartbeat is Life (WEHL) through her interactions with Urban Strategies, Inc. at Twin Rivers Public Housing. Through the WEHL program, participants learn about various health topics and are empowered to lead healthier lifestyles. Such topics include education on diabetes, heart disease, physical activity, smoking cessation, and nutrition. Ms. Caldwell was interested in participating in the WEHL program because she wanted to learn how to improve her health and live a prosperous life.
Prior to participating in the WEHL program, Ms. Caldwell noted that she did not have the best health habits. “My eating habits were horrible, I had weight issues, and I deal with Fibromyalgia so I was in pain a lot," said Ms. Caldwell. What brought Ms. Caldwell to participate in the WEHL program was that it “Motivates you to eat right and live well." Furthermore, she mentioned that the WEHL program is a “Motivating thing. [Having] More people on board helps, rather than starting on your own. Having a group of people sitting there with you and willing to learn makes [the program] easy." After completing the WEHL program, Ms. Caldwell has made positive changes in her daily routine to live a healthier life. She has reduced her fried food intake and is able to take better care of herself now that she has attained a wealth of knowledge through the WEHL program. Being a participant was so impactful that it inspired her to become a Peer Health Leader for the WEHL program and in her community. As a Peer Health Leader, Ms. Caldwell continues to share her health knowledge with friends, family, and fellow community members.
After participating in the WEHL program, Ms. Caldwell chose to become a Peer Health Leader. Ms. Caldwell facilitated the October 2018 WEHL cohort and has plans to facilitate future WEHL cohorts and health activities in her community. Being a Peer Health Leader gives her great fulfillment because she is able to share the knowledge that she has gained with others. Ms. Caldwell particularly enjoys the personal stories that participants share during the program. Ms. Caldwell said that the participants are open and honest during discussions about their health history and how they overcame personal or family health issues. Ms. Caldwell adds that she "really enjoyed the WEHL program," both as a participant and Peer Health Leader, and that she "feels obligated to share this information with her community." Ms. Caldwell goes on to say that “With every subject that was taught, there is someone in my family dealing with that issue. The information comes in handy, this program works and helps [a lot].”
Peer Health Leaders are identified through their efforts and participation in the With Every Heartbeat is Life (WEHL) program. The Peer Health Leader position gives residents the opportunity to effectuate change by promoting health education and healthier living via community resources, events, and opportunities; Leaders serve as liaisons to other public housing residents by promoting healthy living habits and events and activities such as health fairs and neighborhood health walks.
For more information on the With Every Heartbeat is Life (WEHL) program, please visit Urban Strategies, Inc. website at https://urbanstrategiesinc.org/ and “About With Every Heartbeat is Life” on the National Institute of Health (NIH) website here.