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Healthy Choices workshops: making change possible

Victoria Health Co-operative

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“As a co-operative community, we’re sharing the tools to help individuals build the confidence to know that no matter how tight our circumstances, we all have some control to improve areas in our lives.” – Vanessa Hammond, Victoria Health Co-operative workshop co-founder

Vancity supports the Victoria Health Co-operative in providing services and workshops that empower individuals to make health lifestyle choices about food, their environment and finances. The Choices for a Healthy Lifestyle workshops are designed to teach people how they can make good lifestyle choices, even if they feel their finances or a disability restricts their options. Participants discuss healthy eating, living on a budget, creating healthy relationships, sleeping and relaxing, using transit safely, and engaging in activities.

The workshops represent a partnership between the Victoria Health Co-op, community hosts such as First+Met United Church and BC Housing, Vancity and the experts who volunteer to make presentations. Vancity’s involvement builds co-operation among co-operatives as well as personal financial literacy. A community project grant of $10,000 was provided in 2009 and Vancity employees have made presentations on financial literacy through the Each One, Teach One program.

Community members Marilyn and James Skinner volunteered at the workshops, arriving early to set up the meeting space and organize the shared meal. Marilyn, former full-time nurse and part-time bartender, learned long ago that the smallest thing can change a person’s world. “If you change your thinking, it changes your life,” she says. “The Choices workshops give people the kind of information that makes change possible.”