“If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.”
Health Out Loud, a name that might have been inspired by Emile Zola’s thought, began as one of Managing Director Stephanie Wang’s health projects – a series of discussion nights about what health meant and why knowledge about health was sometimes so inaccessible. These discussions led to the formation of a non-profit organization, a network of friends and associates, whose shared mission is to make health information relevant and fun. On May 18, 2017 Stephanie Wang shared with us the “why” and the “how” of Health Out Loud ‘s efforts to fulfill its mission.
The why: most people want to be healthy but struggle to create daily health-supporting habits because the information they need to make change is inaccessible, confusing or simply boring.
The how: HOL creates programs in partnership with charities already at work in targeted communities that are driven by the participants’ needs. The process of developing these programs employs a community engagement model that is research based but highly responsive so solutions can be defined, adapted and deployed quickly. This flexibility has enabled HOL to grow from 300 program participants in 2014 to 2,000 in 2016.
At the core of this exponential growth is a team of highly motivated volunteers, including 200 “executives” from various fields of endeavour ranging from healthcare to marketing and technology who contribute their talents to a broad range of projecs.
Examples of these projects include a YMCA-sponsored workshop that helped attendees “translate” the Canada Food Guide into relevant terms by making culturally appropriate dishes, and a program developed for young mothers to address concerns related to maternal and child health.
Health Out Loud is contributing to health literacy in practical ways and we look forward to exploring possible future collaborations with them.
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