Faithful Families with Nebraska Extension

Faithful Families PRINT

Today, we’re excited to learn more about the Nebraska Extension and their work with Faithful Families!

In Omaha, Bethesda Temple Seven Day Adventist Church participated in the Faithful Families Thriving Community program.  The church was eager to be part of the program and the pastor successfully recruited four lay leaders from the church to help implement and co-facilitate the program.  The pastor and four lay leaders completed the Faith Community Assessment and were trained on the curriculum.

Thirty individuals participated in the classes. The participants attended 10 classes over a three month time period, from September to November of 2019.

At the beginning of each class the pastor, led the participants in an opening prayer. He participated in every class, asking questions and offering support.

Pastor Waters stated, “I never realized how important it was to plan out my meals. I’ve started re-evaluating how I decide on what to eat and actually think it through first. I’m working on planning all of my meals ahead of time so I won’t eat as many unhealthy foods.”

A church member also led physical activities during each class. Most of the time she led activities using resistance band exercises. She made modifications as needed to include those that were unable to stand or were wheelchair bound. The members were very responsive to her leading these activities; it was a great way to start each class.

As a result, one participant shared that he had lost four pounds by making recipes at home that he had learned in class and by being more physically active. He has shared what he has learned in the classes with people throughout the community.

Finally, as a result of the program the church is offering water as an alternative to sugar or caffeinated beverages at church meals and events.

One female participant commented, “After being a part of this class, I’m really trying to cut back on sugary drinks. I didn’t know that there was so much sugar in the things I drink. I have to be more careful.”

The work did not come without challenges to overcome, however.  The Seven Day Adventist faith adhere to a vegetarian or vegan diet.  Each week one of the lay leaders and an Extension team member worked together to choose a recipe and review the content of the presentation, making sure that the recipes and the lesson content was sensitive and aligned with the beliefs of the church.
Many steps are being taken to continue the amazing efforts of the Nebraska Extension, including an incentive program.  At most, classes the participants received an incentive that aligned with the content that was being taught. These provided the participants with additional tools to help them reach their fitness and nutrition goals: water bottles, cutting boards, spatula, resistance bands, and a nutrition calendar with recipes.
The church was also able to pick an incentive item for their church. They chose a food warmer. They plan to use this warmer to serve vegetables at a safe temperature during church events.
Nice work Nebraska Extension!  We’re so proud of the work you are doing!