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The 2012 Wellness Promotion Policy Annual Report
The School District of Palm Beach County, Florida
External Collaboration - Caridad Center

The Caridad Center provides comprehensive medical and dental care for the uninsured working poor of Palm Beach County. It is a community effort of over 400 medical, dental, and support volunteers which save taxpayers $4.8 million annually.

The mission of the Caridad Center is to upgrade the health, education, and living standards of underserved children and families. The Caridad Center’s vision is to eliminate the cycle of poverty for the families that we serve in South Florida. Our mission is accomplished through three distinct programs:

  • default_titleCaridad Health Clinic (CHC) provides free quality medical and dental health care for 6,000 patients, both children and adults, who do not qualify for government programs.
  • default_titleHomework Assistance Program provides homework assistance, literacy and enrichment activities for up to 55 elementary school children.
  • default_titleCommunity Outreach Services provides emergency assistance for food, clothing, college scholarships, shelter, hurricane relief, as well as holiday parties and gifts for more than 2,000 children and their families annually.
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Prevention, Education & Treatment Childhood Obesity Program (PET)

The Goal of the PET Childhood Obesity Program is to reinforce the importance of prevention and early detection of childhood obesity using a family-centered approach to low-income Hispanic, Haitian and African American families in Palm Beach County.

The Strategy employs an inter-generational approach to reach all members of the family from first to the third generation with health education and counseling. The program is culturally sensitive and staff and volunteers fluent in English, Spanish and Creole provide services. It serves all Palm Beach County residents who are low income and uninsured.

PET is a community-based health care program. It is a family-centered program that aims to improve the lifestyle, diet, and emotional health of the child and his/her family. Staff and volunteers screen children and adults at all outreach activities as well at the clinic. Patients found to be at risk, or who are diagnosed with one or more chronic diseases, are referred to the program where they receive education to improve their health. Children found to be obese, or grossly overweight, receive family-centered counseling. A treatment plan is formulated for the child and the family’s specific needs. Patients are encouraged to start lifestyle changes that include a healthier diet and exercise. An individual treatment plan is formulated and PET staff works closely with the patient and clinician in its implementation.

Program Methods
  • default_titleOutreach to at-risk communities
  • default_titleGroup Education Classes
  • default_titleHealth Fairs
  • default_titleOne-on-one family-centered prevention, education and counseling for program families.
  • default_titleCollaboration with community partners
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Program Activities
  • default_titleAssessment and Screening at Caridad Clinic and during outreach activities at community sites to determine risk for obesity
  • default_titlePromotion of a healthy lifestyle (nutrition/physical activity) individual and in groups
  • default_titleNutrition, exercise, and lifestyle modification education classes open to all
  • default_titleAn annual onsite Health Fair
  • default_titleParticipation in other agencies community events or health fairs
  • default_titleOne-on-one family centered prevention, education and counseling for families
  • default_titleWork with families and monitor their individual goals and activities
  • default_titleCollaborate with community partners in obesity prevention
  • default_titleProvide clinical treatment for obesity and other chronic illnesses
  • default_titleReferrals to primary care physicians for those found at risk for obesity or other chronic disease(s)
  • default_titleRecruitment and training of peer educators for target communities
  • default_titleEmotional and comprehensive social services support services
  • default_titleFood preparation demonstrations and supermarket tours
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Activities in Partnership with The School District of Palm Beach County
School District Health Fairs...
The PET program has participated in the following Health Fairs:
  • Poinciana Elementary School
  • default_titlePalm Springs Community Middle School
  • default_titleOkeeheelee Middle School
  • default_titleConniston Community Middle School
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The PET Program’s objective is to teach wellness techniques and provide health information to students using educational materials and engaging activities. It promotes:
  • Awareness of health issues associated with lifestyle habits
  • default_titleAwareness of community resources
  • default_titleHealthy behavioral changes
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School Workshops...
The Childhood Obesity Program has conducted four (2½) hours workshops in which 84 families participated at the following locations:
  • South Grade Elementary School
  • default_titleOrchard View Elementary School - Hispanic Population
  • default_titleOrchard View Elementary School - Haitian Population
  • default_titleBridges at Lake Park
  • default_titleBridges at Lake Worth
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The workshops encourage behavioral changes that lead to a healthy lifestyle and provide insight on how to prevent or manage chronic disease conditions through:
  • Proper Nutrition
  • default_titlePhysical Activity
  • default_titleGood Self-Esteem
  • default_titleFamily Togetherness
  • default_titleUse of Leisure Time
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School Classes...
The PET Program has conducted both 1 hour and 2 hours nutrition classes in which 30 families participated at:
  • Bridges at Northwood
  • default_titleHighland Elementary School
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The objectives of these classes were to:
  • Promote healthy nutrition habits
  • default_titleHelp families make wise and healthful decisions about food
  • default_titlePromote physical activities
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School Activities...
The School Garden Planting Day at Berkshire Elementary School was promoted by Erica Whitfield, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Project Coordinator. Eight families participated and the objective of this event was:
  • Teach the nutritional benefits of gardening
  • default_titleIncrease environmental awareness
  • default_titleImprove physical activity
  • default_titleTeach students how to plant, care for, and harvest healthy vegetables
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Health Fairs at Caridad Center...
The School District of Palm Beach County has always participated in Caridad’s Annual Health Fairs through the School Food Service (SFS) Department . The SFS Department provided participants with healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables which encouraged the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
These classes are excellent. I started to change the way that I eat. I learned that I need to have breakfast every day. Although it is difficult I started eating small amounts of food.
Hernando Toro
The PET Program has changes my life, I feel more comfortable, I feel a very special connection between Dr. Wallace and Staff!!! Dr. Wallace has made my life style improve, by educating me about my condition and healthy eating habits. I have learned more about my condition and I'm able to communicate better with my doctor.
Josma Felicia
Now I am Having Breakfast every day. I didn't know it was so important. Now I learned it.
Sonia Cabrera
I cut out the soda's and fruit juice. I started exercising it is why I have lost 8 pounds. Excellent program.
I’m very happy to be part of the P.E.T program. I feel like a family. Dr Wallace teaches me a lot about my Diabetes condition. Thank You so much.
Edrine Thevenin
Please visit the Caridad Center website for more information.