The Healthier Evergreen Committee is an independent non-profit organization comprised of representatives from business, government, education, health care public service, and other non-profit organizations serving the health needs of the Village of Evergreen Park. A review of the 12 goals established in 2003 follows with a status report on the achievement of each goal. Also included are recommendations for ongoing activities of the Healthier Evergreen Committee in its quest to promote health and well-being among the population.
Goal 1: Establish and update a community care document The Health Education Center at Little Company of Mary Hospital currently produces an updated Community Resource Guide annually. This directory is distributed to community members, members of the Healthier Evergreen Committee, Worth Township clinic, Physicians, Primary Care Providers, and the management team at Little Company of Mary Hospital. Goal 1 has been met and a method for ongoing production of this document is in place. Goal 2: Promote Physical Activity As of September 2012, there are 5parks in the village with a 50 acre park under construction at 91st and California, a very active community center with multiple programs available to promote physical activity, a new walking path located north of the EPFD, which includes a skating rink. Little Company of Mary Hospital provides a variety of exercise programs, an annual 100 days of fitness for employees of the hospital and a walker’s club at the Chicago Ridge Mall. The village High school has a track and an indoor pool that provides community access on a regular basis. Goal 2 has been met with the option and availability for fitness and physical activity for all ages and fitness levels. Goal 3: Create an awareness of the health implications of being overweight or obese. This continues to be a challenge for residents of Evergreen Park, the state of Illinois and the nation. In keeping with the recommendations of Healthy People 2020, this goal remains pertinent. There are many programs and services available in the village that address this problem but work remains to be done. Goal 4: Keep the seniors of Evergreen Park healthy and independent. The Office of Citizen Services and Little Company of Mary Hospital provides multiple programs and services for the senior citizens of the village. The village is located in Worth Township, which also has a variety of programs and services for senior. Goal 4 has been met. Goal 5: Help restrict the use of tobacco, drugs, and alcohol. Little Company of Mary Hospital is the largest employer in the village. The hospital went smoke free in November 2005. The village of Evergreen Park has banned smoking in public areas. School Districts 124 and 231 have programs in place to educate and discourage the use of tobacco, drugs and alcohol. Little Company of Mary Hospital has an active chemical dependency department. Information about programs and services related to addiction are available in the Community Resource Directory. There is an active D.A.R.E program in School District 124 and a police officer available at the High School to monitor for drug related activities. Goal 5 has been met with multiple strategic initiatives in place. Goal 6: Reduce abuse and violence. The problem of domestic abuse and violence is an ongoing concern for the Village of Evergreen Park, the State of Illinois and the nation. The Evergreen Park Police Department has received specialized training addressing this civil offense and continues to act as an advocate for the rights of victims and perpetrators. The Emergency Department at Little Company of Mary Hospital has protocols in place to address the physical, psychological, social, spiritual, and safety needs of patients seen as a result of abuse and violence. The hospital partners with social programs and organizations that provide a range of assistance such as A New Direction, and The Crisis Center for South Suburbia. There are multiple resources available in the Community Resource Directory. Goal 6 reflects an ongoing need in the community and therefore continued attention to this goal is warranted. Goal 7: Help shape the environment in a positive manner The Village of Evergreen Park has a very active recycling program and has integrated and electronic recycling program as well. There is an ongoing committee with attention specifically focused on this process. Goal 7 has been met. Goal 8: Encourage and support cultural diversity in the community Respect for and understanding of cultural diversity is an important factor in all communities. This should be reflected in the administration of the various services and programs available to community members. For this reason, this is an important goal to continue addressing. It is recommended that the Healthier Evergreen Committee enhance its ability to best serve the needs of the community by increasing the diversity among its members. The committee will solicit participation by community residents with an interest in facilitating unity and enhancing recognition of the shared values, beliefs and experiences of all community members. Engaging a representative from local churches on the committee may contribute significantly to meeting this goal. Goal 8 is an ongoing need for the community. Goal 9: Increase awareness of and control diabetes within the community Little Company of Mary Hospital has an active Diabetes Center that provides free support groups and information sessions at both the hospital and the Chicago Ridge Mall Health Education Centers. There are multiple services including a weight management program that are available and ongoing. Goal 9 has been met and has systems in place for ongoing support and education. Goal 10: Increase Awareness of and help prevent heart disease, stroke and cancer. Little company of Mary Hospital has a cancer center and active cancer committee that promotes community outreach and education related to cancer prevention and early detection. Multiple cancer screening programs are offered on a regular basis. The Health Education Centers provides regular health awareness, screening, and lifestyle enhancement programs designed to prevent heart disease, stroke and cancer and empower community members to take an active role in their own health. The Hospital has been certified as a Primary Stroke Center and incorporates community education, prevention and early detection programs for stroke and heart attack. The Community Resource Directory provides access to a variety of resources available for heart disease, cancer and stroke. Goal 10 has been met and services/programs are available to address heart disease stroke and cancer prevention, detection and treatment. Goal 11: To care for the poor and needy of the community. The Healthier Evergreen Committee works closely with other organizations in the community such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society and Meals on Wheels to care for the poor and needy. Since its inception, the committee has provided $90,000 of support to 110 residents of the village, many on more than one occasion. There is an active food pantry in the village, at some churches, and the Worth Township center. Goal 11 is a need that continues to require services and attention. Goal 12: To provide health progress measures. At each meeting, updates are offered related to every goal. Goal 12 has been met with an ongoing process to provide health progress measures.
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