Faith-based organizations get ‘on board’ for a healthy Fairfield

All Aboard for Healthy Fairfield! This is the theme for a new initiative from the Healthy South Carolina Initiative – Community Transformation Grant that was awarded to Fairfield Community Healthy Partners in May 2012. “All Aboard for a Healthy Fairfield” focus areas include tobacco-free living and healthy eating/active living. Fairfield Behavioral Health Services, one of the Health Partners along with support from other partners will Coordinate with members of the Fairfield Ministerial Association, the Blair Coalition of Churches and other faith based organizations to provide tobacco education with the goal to adopt and implement a model tobacco-free policy, smoke-free environments including vehicles and homes.

A group of 15 faith based organizations came out July 7 to participate in a Faith Based Tobacco Education Training at Christ Central Community Center. The purpose of this training was to provide the latest information on tobacco, the impact it has on health, and to enhance faith based communities’ abilities to educate its congregation, families, and community as well as implement strategies to improve their health.

“A lot of people in the community are affiliated with faith communities so what better way to get the word out on the dangers of tobacco and second hand smoking than by partnering with the faith community,” said Vernon L. Kennedy Sr., Executive Director of Fairfield Behavioral Health Services.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and premature death in South Carolina. The key word is “preventable.” Currently, 21 percent of S.C. adults smoke cigarettes, and 23.7 percent of the state’s high school students report having smoked within the past 30 days. The economic cost due to smoking in South Carolina is more than three billion dollars, and attributes to deaths exceeding 6,000 residents of the state as reported by presenter Megan Hicks, State Program Director at South Carolina Tobacco Collaborative.

South Carolina Tobacco Collaborative along with Fairfield Behavioral Health Services and its partners are working hard to make Fairfield County and South Carolina a healthier place to live, work and raise a family declares presenter, Cheryl Y. Goodwin, Special Service Coordinator at Fairfield Behavioral. “We’re primarily here to educate people about the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke for people and pets. Mrs. Goodwin also explained how help was needed from faith based organizations to encourage and support efforts to prevent youth from starting to smoke and assist current smokers in quitting.

Thank you to the 15 faith based organizations who participated in the training: Bethel ARP, Bethesda A.M.E.Z., Bible Light Holiness Church, Brown Chapel Baptist., Bringing Down the Walls, Calvary Baptist, Christ Central Community Center, Gethsemane Baptist, Golden Rock Fellowship, Mt. Olive Baptist, River of Life, St. Mark Baptist, Sion Presbyterian, St. Paul Baptist Missionary and Tabernacle of Praise Church.

“This was a great learning experience and I’m thankful for the opportunity to participate in this Tobacco Initiative and will use the information from this training to help impact others , I believe that working with the faith-based will make a positive input on Fairfield County,” said Teresa Reed, a participant from Sion Presbyterian Church.

We would like to especially thank Christ Central Ministries and staff for the use of their Center.

For more information or to sign up for participation, please contact Cheryl Y. Goodwin, Special Service Coordinator, at 635-2335 ext. 33,  [email protected] or P.O. Box 388 Winnsboro, S.C. 29180.