Sisters Together: Taking Steps Towards Better Health

Sisters Together: Taking Steps Towards Better Health
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    DANNIELLE NELSON: Four years ago, I really was just searching for something to kind of
    fill a void almost, and just searching for support.
    RHONDA BAYLESS: If you're ready to take care of your health, but don't know how to take
    care of your health, this is what Sisters Together is about.
    RHONDA: We were looking for an evidence-based program to target women here in Indianapolis.
    At the time, we couldn't identify any programs that involve fitness and nutrition, and so
    really through a Google search, to be very honest, it popped up.
    And so with that, we just pulled the guide down and downloaded it and followed it.
    And as simple as that.
    RHONDA: The Sisters Together program is a program that targets women 18 and over, particularly
    black women, in regards to reducing the rates of obesity.
    DANNIELLE: It provides the support that we need to get moving.
    It encourages everybody to be healthy all around the board, whether it's physical health,
    mental health, whatever.
    RHONDA: It's a community-based program that can be implemented anywhere - it can be implemented
    by a health department or a church or a neighborhood organization, it's that easy to do.
    RHONDA: The program guide is a great instrument and tool if you really know nothing about
    program design.
    It goes step by step in how you put a program together.
    RHONDA: It helped us to stay structured as far as, you know, sign-in sheets and follow-up
    and evaluation and helping women set goals and things like that.
    DANNIELLE: My favorite part would have to be the walks.
    I love the walks.
    I used to not walk, I would cry about walking, and it was like the worst thing, I just hated
    to walk.
    But as I begin to take my health more seriously, it began to be more of a passion for me.
    DANNIELLE: At one point, I was on 31 different medications.
    And once I decided to put me first and take my health back into my own hands, now I take
    a multivitamin and that's it.
    RHONDA: It helps you to look at – well, where should you have this program?
    How do you recruit women?
    How do you market?
    How do you get partners in your community?
    How do you raise money?
    How do you write a budget?
    All those kinds of things are in the guide.
    DANNIELLE: We actually have a lot of things that I like to say are "bae" and baby-friendly.
    So if you have children, don't let that be a discouragement or a barrier.
    RHONDA: What we have found in the past is that some black women won't work out because
    of their hair, sweating out their hair.
    So there's actually a hair tip in there about how to wrap your hair and hair care
    and things like that.
    RHONDA: In thinking about sustaining your program, partnerships need to happen.
    There's a lot of things that we've done, we don't have a budget for.
    You know, yoga - we did a yoga mat drive.
    Actually, we had another organization that did a yoga mat drive for us.
    And so they were able to donate about 30 yoga mats to us, for us to do yoga with our women
    in Sisters Together.
    So it's really about being creative in your partnerships.
    DANNIELLE: You know sometimes when you're trying to get moving and get healthy, it seems
    like a very lonely place sometimes.
    But when you have programs like Sisters Together, it's not lonely at all, you have the support
    of your sisters.
    You have a lot of resources to pull from.
    RHONDA: If you're walking with three women every day, that is wonderful!
    Because that three women is going to become six, nine and on.
    You have to keep going.
    DANNIELLE: Start it.
    If you have the vision... roll with the vision and the people will come.
    RHONDA: So no, we're not the marathon runners.
    We're not that group, but we are the group that is going to get you started and get you
    moving and help you to understand how to make healthier food choices for you and your family.
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