Guest Writer: Maryam Funmilayo
The kick-off day for the Faithful Families Eating Smart and Moving More program at the Islamic Association of Raleigh (IAR) was February 9, 2013. With seven participants at the beginning, excluding the Women’s Committee leadership and lay leaders, the class of all women was filled with so much excitement.
The success stories from the 1st Faithful Families session have been amazing. The participants as well as the lay leaders savored the knowledge gained and put the skills acquired into practice. One of the lay leaders mentioned that she started making use of the shopping pad and even cooked some of the recipes in the hand outs. The ‘Shop for Value, Check the Facts’ lesson was an eye-opener to everyone in the class. One participant told the class that she had always been curious about what calories meant. The same participant mentioned her interest in joining a food co-op so as to buy in bulk, save money, and get quality food. One participant plans to gradually reduce her sugar intake. Another one said she’d help her spouse reduce his salt intake in foods.
This first class planned big when it came to ideas for moving more for the female worshippers at the IAR. Gardening and walking were chosen as physical activities for the month of April. Women meet Monday – Friday each week to walk and garden together. Other fun activities in the upcoming months include aerobics, swimming, horse riding, and roller skating. One of the lay leader’s daughters is certified in aerobics so we brought her on board to lead some classes this summer!
Two months later, several of the women from this first set of participants has graduated from the program and the 2nd set started on Friday, April 26, 2013 with 18 participants! This is more than double the number from the first class!
It’s amazing how the IAR’s Faithful Families program is gaining ground, mainly through word of mouth and positive testimonials from past participants. The IAR’S administration, religious leaders, as well as all the standing committees, particularly the Women’s Committee, are in full support of the Faithful Families program.
As the Faithful Families program gradually gets situated at the IAR, I cannot help but brainstorm ways of bringing more diverse women together through the healing benefits of simple, nourishing food and enjoyable physical activity.
Maryam Funmilayo works as a Program Assistant for the Faithful Families Eating Smart and Moving More Program. Look for her continued blog posts about her experiences leading Faithful Families classes at the IAR.