Outreach programs are targeted at communities to build up community bonding, wellness and identity. Outreach programs usually encompass a wide range of different programs geared towards the need of a certain community. Some of the common areas that outreach programs work at improving are:
- Health services
- Nutrition services
- Educative services
These are the most important areas in which communities need help. Apart from that, depending on the community, other programs may be offered. For example, if the outreach program is geared towards the Spanish communities, the program may include services to help the children of the community understand their culture. If it is a farming community, the outreach program may include tips on self sufficient farming and helping the farmers work out how best to get returns for their products. Outreach programs are diverse and only restricted by what the community needs.
A look at how outreach programs help
Outreach programs are geared to empower communities into making lifestyle changes that will help make their lives better. Let us take a look at some of their services.
The health services of these community programs educate communities on hygiene, pregnancy, contraception, diseases etc. They ensure that families in the community are observing basic hygiene, and that teenagers are educated on the harms of substance abuse and on sex. They check if children are being given their immunizations and are taken for regular medical checkups, and that older people are looked after. They have free health screenings for blood sugar, diabetes, pre-diabetes, Body Mass Index, and blood pressure at clinic events, and home visits. They may also provide health education to the community regarding chronic disease prevention and wellness promotion.
Communities are educated on what a balanced diet is and helped to plan a healthy diet with the resources they have. They are also taught how important a fitness program is to ensure a healthy life. When checking them medically, if any deficiencies or anomalies are detected, then individuals are counseled on what kind of food they need to eat to supplement or overcome the deficiency or reduce their risk for other ailments. Outreach programs usually have a registered dietician / certified diabetes educator who provides nutrition education and cooking classes. Individual nutrition services are available as well as monthly nutrition classes.
The educative programs do not just address education for children. They have adult education classes too. Volunteers make sure that children of various communities are attending school and receiving education. If not, many outreach programs actually have educators and facilitators going to communities, to take classes for children.
Aim of community outreach programs
Community programs do not just restrict themselves to building awareness of the community, towards education and health. They also try to help a feeling of oneness to develop in the community. They have family days, parent’s days, children’s day, senior’s days etc. They also celebrate national holidays and holidays that are of relevance to that community. They make it interesting by having art programs or other activities which help the children understand their heritage better.
These programs aim to better the life of communities by making them aware of many resources that they can get, which will help them make their life better. They also help bring the members of a community together, get to know one another, understand each other and help themselves and their neighborhood. This kind of bonding brings a self of pride to the community and very often the lifestyles of the members of the community improve by leaps and bounds.
Outreach programs are usually run by volunteers who want to better the lives of their community!