One Small Raindrop Starts A Flood: The Impact of A Community Campaign
The philosophy of Character Camp is that each boy and girl possesses leadership qualities. These leading boys and girls grow up to be leading adults. These catalysts are not born, yet they are made. Qualities such as honesty, responsibility, hard work, respect and courage are instilled at the right combinations for a winning product. Character Camp has started the $1 Million Dollar Healthy Child Campaign to ensure the leader in every participating boy and girl can be groomed into a productive and outstanding adult. Focusing on the total health of underprivileged children, the campaign seeks to improve the health, safety, academic performance and character of all those encountered.
Obesity rates for children and adolescents in the United States have tripled to 17% from a decade ago(1). It is true—we are eating more and moving less. It is such a growing crisis, the First Lady has launched the anti-obesity campaign “Let’s Move”. Obese kids grow up to be obese adults(1) and all the health problems that ensue will follow. Minority boys and girls are more likely to be obese in comparison to their non-minority counterparts. (2, 3) Influences such as more screen time, poor food choices, cuts in physical education programs and a lack of safe play areas all have their role in the growing epidemic.
Recent studies suggest crime and alcohol use disorders are common in low income youth and usually begin during adolescence.(4) Minorities are involved in violent crimes including homicide more often as both victims and aggressors.(5) The cycle of poverty ensures these disparities continue because its victims often do not know the way out and a dejected demeanor gives up on the hopes of a better outcome.
The poverty cycle not only includes crime and substance abuse, but affects education. The depth of an education affects employment opportunities. Rates of high school drop outs have decreased, but the numbers for minorities are still greater.(7) The same populace of people who make up a smaller percentage of the nation’s overall inhabitants are the majority of the unemployed, with rates as high as 13% in some communities.(6)
Do these facts startle you as well? Imagine for a moment that someone wants to help. Someone wants to change the lives of underprivileged children before they grow up to become a burden on our communities, on our families, on our hearts.
Through the $1 Million Dollar Healthy Child Campaign, health screenings for preventable diseases, vision and hearing are administered. Obesity education and physical fitness are offered. Anti-crime education to prevent substance abuse and juvenile delinquency is taught. Tutoring services, leadership and career skills are imparted. All of this happens in the urban community I grew up in. It happens in the same areas of town run down by life and circumstances. It starts with a few kids then touches thousands. The end result, you ask?
Boys and girls survive adolescence healthy, safe and well educated. They are taught ethics to be the productive citizen they were destined to be. They then instill these same qualities in their own children. Our families are stronger and our communities flourish. It doesn’t have to be a fantasy, but a reality made possible by a campaign that advocated for a kid.
Bio: Dr. Kimberly Harden
Dr. Harden is currently a family practice physician in Chicago, Illinois. She earned her medical degree from the American University of Antigua College of Medicine. She underwent her residency program at the Louisiana State University Rural Family Medicine Program, being distinguished as Chief Resident during her last year of residency.
Dr. Harden is credentialed as board-certified by the American Board of Family Medicine, and is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians. She is excited to work in community-based health care, where she says she can be an integral and functional part of the community and provide essential health services. Dr. Harden has a keen interest in obesity medicine. When not practicing medicine, she enjoys traveling, home improvement, exploring different cuisines and buying sassy shoes. As a very personable physician, she is sensitive to her patients’ unique concerns and individual needs.
Sources for Article on Page 1
- Center for Disease Control. www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood Accessed 8/3/13
- Office of Minority Health. www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/content.aspx?ID=6456 Accessed 8/3/13
- Salud America! The RWJF Research Network To Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children. www.salud-america.org/latino-child-obesity Accessed 8/3/13
- Alex Mason, W., Hitch, J.E., Kosterman, R., McCarty, C.A., Herrenkohl, T.I. and David Hawkins, J. (2010), Growth in adolescent dilenquency and alcohol use in relation to young adult crime, alcohol use disorders, and risky sex: a comparison of youth from low- versus middle-income backgrounds. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51: 1377-1385.
- Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
- http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/victims/qa02310.asp?qaDate=2010 and
- http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/JAR_Display.asp?ID=qa05261 Accessed 8/3/13
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. US Department of Labor. www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t02.html Accessed 8/3/13
- National Center for Education Statistics. www.hces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?ID=16 Accessed 8/3/13