AMERICAN VOLUNTEER CORPS:
The first project of the American Health Foundation is the very heart
of our organization. These are the people that make things happen. They’re
an important part of the American Volunteer Corps.
The Corps incorporates the Junior Volunteer Corps
(JVC) and the Senior Volunteer Corps (SVC).
The word “Senior” is used to indicate 'higher in rank, authority
or experience' and not older, elder or retired. The Corps are volunteers
who are trained for professional volunteer positions
in a myriad of healing and helping disciplines including Peer
Counselors, Mentorships, Grief and Bereavement and a whole host
of specialized programs in the helping arts. Training consists of didactic
& Socratic method of instruction in group format underscoring life
experience and learning styles as a teaching methodology. The aim here
is to give active adults the 4 p’s of continued life sustenance.
Passion, Purpose with Productivity in a social
Partnership with and in their respective communities. Once trained
you are placed within 5 miles of a members home and in effect become “longevity
coaches” to the community.
Combined with the training are Internships at various agencies to include hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living centers, senior service centers, churches and synagogues, each again within a few miles of a member’s home. Interns graduate with a Master Peer Counseling Certificate with a placement of your choosing. Specialization Certificates in various psychological disciplines are offered throughout the year as well, including Grief and Bereavement, Crisis and Recovery, Elder Abuse etc.
Various Support Groups including “ Rebuilding your life After Battling Crisis and Divorce (which we call the ABCD Support Group)," “A Small Course in Happiness,” and “Coping with Age” are examples of support groups that are offered both for men and women." Economic Anxiety" and "Love & Romance" are brand new support groups that are currently up and running.
Under the Senior Volunteer Corps comes a host of programs that define and differentiate the Corps from any other group in the country. "Senior & Senior" matches a student in high school and a member of the SVC in “Oral Narratives,” videoing important memories and life stories of men and women over 75. As a culture, we don’t hand down our histories very well. We don’t tell our stories often enough to the next generation. The “Senior & Senior” oral history campaign attempts to change that. Copies of the taping are then given to family members as a keepsake of loved ones. “Santa: Cause I love You” is another illustration how the SVC works. Here they collect and recycle used and often brand new plush animals, teddy bears, and dolls known as “Guardian Angels” and give them to abandoned and neglected elders secluded in “aging ghettos” without visitors or holiday gifts. SVC members dress up as Santa and Elves and make the holidays memorable. Other times of the year this program is known as “Senior Angels” when SVC members visit homes, hospitals and hospices giving gifts of love.
ADULT LIFELONG LEARNING FOUNDATION: The second sector of The American Health Foundation is its Lifelong Learning component. This includes Senior University, the Joy of Learning and the Centers for Adult Education. This is nothing short of community-based lifelong learning drawing on the wisdom and experience of your neighbors. Courses include: The Great Philosophers of Learning, Great Philosophers of Love and Romance, Great Philosophers of Psychology together with special lectures and exciting trips. One course held recently was “Understanding the Emotions of Grief” which proved to be very popular. Courses are held throughout the area and are detailed in our monthly Calendar mailed to all members of The Foundation and students of Senior University. Courses are held at Senior University campus or satellites sites located throughout the area, with a primary campus in Delray Beach, Florida. In short, it’s a University Without Walls for active adults.
CENTER FOR HEALTHY AGING:
The third part of The American Health Foundation is the
Center for Healthy Aging. Presently, we have both Healthy Aging
support groups that meet weekly and Healthy Aging
lectures at our Senior University which looks at the various techniques,
the various menus we have to sculpture our future and change our aging destiny.
Through the Center for Healthy Aging, we introduce “preventative
aging” as a radical new model. Courses include “Diet
& Nutrition" and "Communication and Active Listening.”
Other courses include “Healthy Aging 101: 25 Rules for Optimal Aging
and “The Anatomy of Emotions.” The Centers for Adult Education
offers CEU credits and a host of outreach
curriculum from "Anger Management" and "Cultural Diversity"
to "Stress Management" and "Humor as a Tool for Healing."
These courses are available onsite to our host partners
and health care providers throughout South
Florida or they can be ported to provider and host sites.
It is hoped that, one day, a one-stop center, the Center for Healthy Aging, could be where a new medical model unfolds and creates the genesis of change. We feel the present HMO model is bankrupt, creating “health for the wealthy.” instead of health for all. We are bothered by our elders who are being tortured by big pharmaceutical companies and the greed and corruption they exhibit towards our elder populations. We think its unfair that elders have to choose between eating dinner or taking life-saving medicines. It is an unfair choice which our “Lifesavers,” our various Senior Volunteer Corps members hope to change. Why Lifesavers? Simply because we do save lives.
MENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION: The fourth signature sector within The American Health Foundation is the Mental Health Foundation (MHF). Here we look at the mental health of not just the individual, but the culture too. We put emphasis on the psychiatric side and needs of this throw-away population that society has forgotten. The need for outplacement mental health services that includes: resocialization, reskilling, job coaching and placement, housing and social services. Our aim is to make sure no one is forgotten and that no one falls through the cracks and towards that end, The Foundation Counseling Center aims to plug some holes. An interesting component of FMH is to better comprehend and look at those societal factors conspiring to drive healthy men and women into “unhealthy states of being.” Is society partially responsible for creating these states of being? Is the culture and economic pressures of surviving a driving engine skewing the mental health of the American mind? These are some of the questions FMH closely reviews.
Within MHF is a host of programs and psycho-social support groups including grief and bereavement, age-related dysfunctions, impulse control disorders, and a multitude of others that cross over with the Senior Volunteer Corps and its mission. Senior Peer Counseling is one such mission and program. Another is the Senior Work Project (or SWP). Thousands of seniors, men and women of good will are financially burdened economically which in turn affects their well-being and their psychological sense of being well. These people are on “fixed incomes.” It is these fixed incomes that then create unfixed and unsettled minds, giving birth to “elder depravity, poverty, and elder mental illness.” Every day is a struggle to get by for thousands of these well intended seniors. For these men and women over 50, Senior Work Project can make all the difference between having dinner or taking a mandated but unfortunately, unaffordable drug. The SWP permits our loved seniors an opportunity to earn extra monies to have both lunch and a prescription drug. For those licensed professionals, either LCSW, LMHC and others in the healing and helping arts wishing to participate (in community service), there is the Mental Health Coalition. The Coalition endeavors to facilitate those in need so they don’t fall through the cracks as well as create new platforms in community mental health services. Please our office and mention Coalition if this phase of the American Health Foundation appeals to your good nature.
CENTER FOR HEALTH CARE MANAGEMENT: The fifth major part of the American Health Foundation is the Center for Healthcare Management. This program is the consultancy wing, initiating and managing corporate health interventions aimed at improving employee well-being and morale. The role of a corporation including small business in the medical model is totally misunderstood as a contributing risk factor in the stress and aging process. Integrating total health and wellness cannot be compartmentalized separating home from work or visa-versa and must be viewed in its totality as a contributing health and aging risk factor. It must be remembered that stress has no borders and employee/employer stress has a profound affect on the entire family and its emotional health.
JOIN THE AMERICAN HEALTH FOUNDATION: The major programs described here are but a small sample of the direction towards which our not-for-profit organization is striving. Every meaningful event starts with a bginning, an idea, and ideas can change the world for the better. Won't you consider making a difference in your own health and the health of your family, friends. and neighbors?
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