Community Connection - Together, we can live healthier and make tomorrow better than today - Spring/Summer 2012
Quarterly Newsletter
Fall / Winter 2012
In This Issue
Home, Hope, and
Good Health
It's Surprising Where
You Can Find Us
Simple Steps to
Prevent Falls
Kaiser Permanente Sponsorships
News and Announcements
Home, Hope, and Good Health
When Eleanor showed up at Opportunity House in Vacaville, she was addicted, hungry, scared, and finally ready to seek help in getting her life - and her family - back together.

"I had heard about Opportunity House from other people on the streets," Eleanor said recently. "I didn't have anything else to lose, so I just showed up on their doorstep."

This is how most residents arrive at Opportunity House, a converted house on a side street near Downtown Vacaville where homeless individuals and families can get the training and support they need to enhance and improve their life choices.
For Eleanor and many others who come through the doors, their needs are emotional, physical, and psychological. "The change that had to take place was overwhelming," she said.

Through a grant to Opportunity House by Kaiser Permanente's Napa-Solano Community Benefit Program, residents are provided with classes and training in nutrition, exercise, and other ways to make healthy choices.This is information that has changed Eleanor's life.

While completing the 90-day program, Eleanor not only learned how to prepare nutritious meals for herself and her daughter, but with the help of a Kaiser Permanente Health Educator, she also stopped smoking. "It was really hard, but it was worth it," she says.

Executive Director Colleen Erdes is proud of Eleanor, and of the many other families that come through the doors of Opportunity House. "Their needs are physical, emotional, psychological - all of it," she says. "We give them the tools, they take it all in, and then they run with it."

Colleen beams with pride while sharing some of the stories of success from Opportunity House families. Stories like Eleanor's, who today has her daughter living with her, money in the bank, a new job, and most of all - a bright future.
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It's Surprising Where You Can Find Us
Our Community Benefit Department works with local organizations, government officials, business leaders, and safety net providers to help improve the health and wellness of our communities. But what does "health and wellness" mean? To us, it means not just providing care, but supporting non-profit organizations that promote the health of mind, body and spirit.

Here are some examples of where you might find Kaiser Permanente supporting the community:

Seniors in Need
It might be surprising, but you will find Kaiser Permanente's Community Benefit Program funding the senior meal delivery program, Meals On Wheels Solano. Through its home delivery program and congregate dining sites, MOW succeeds in its mission to provide nutritious low-cost meals to seniors in need. With the support of dedicated volunteers, MOW serves all seven cities in Solano County – providing more than 650 meals to seniors each weekday.

Meals On Wheels volunteers do more than just deliver meals – they also build relationships with the seniors they serve. For a lot of their clientele, the volunteers are the only people they come into contact with on a regular basis. There have been many instances, in which volunteers have helped prevent tragedies by calling for medical assistance or by helping a senior who has fallen.

Providing Basic Necessities
You will find us supporting the Healthy Start Family Resource Centers in Solano, which operates nine neighborhood-based agencies serving more than 18,000 families in Solano County. Each of the sites offer unique services important to the community that it serves, including rental assistance, parenting workshops/resources, ESL classes, in-home visitation services, resume writing assistance and much more.

But sometimes the needs are more basic. Because of the tough economy, many families throughout Solano County are lacking basic necessities like shampoo, soap and toothpaste. In order to help address this need, Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit Program has recently donated more than 4,000 toiletry items to the Healthy Start Family Resource Centers – most desired items that go a long way in supporting the high demand.

Preventing Childhood Obesity
You will even find us building partnerships with other local hospitals, like Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, by supporting a school-based obesity prevention program called Healthy for Life that serves more than 200 students, from the elementary to high school level in seven schools in Napa County. Their mission – reduce the incidence of obesity by enhancing existing school P.E. programs designed to establish lifelong healthy lifestyle choices.

This curriculum-based physical education program, taught by trained P.E. instructors, engages students in high-impact aerobic classes twice a month. These fitness classes incorporate fun and non-traditional exercises such as Zumba and kick-boxing., followed by healthy nutrition classes. As a result of this program, participating students have shown a reduction in BMI and improvement in their self-esteem.

Preventing childhood obesity is important to Kaiser Permanente, so you'll also find our Community Benefit Program supporting programs serving local schools, like the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Farm 2 Kids Program that encourages children to eat healthier and make better food choices.

Today's youth are surrounded by foods that lack nourishment and contribute to Solano County's high obesity rates. The Farm 2 Kids program provides fresh produce to kids enrolled in 30 after-school programs throughout the county. More than 2,000 children enjoy healthy snacks while in after-school programs and receive 3-4 pounds of fresh, free produce to take home and share with their families each week. The program currently serves nine schools in Fairfield, four in Vacaville, three in Suisun, 13 in Vallejo, and one in Dixon.

Farm 2 Kids School Spotlight: Solano Middle School
Only at Solano Middle School in Vallejo can a half a bag of leftover potatoes turn into a weekly feast for students and their families. With the potatoes and other food leftover each week, the program coordinators decided to create dinner each Thursday night to benefit families from the school. It's called Families and Schools Together (FAST) and children bring their parents and siblings to not only enjoy a great meal, but learn more from guest speakers about how to eat and live a healthy lifestyle. They also learn about resources like the Farm 2 Kids Program from Caitlin Sly, Farm 2 Kids Coordinator, who visited the FAST program and talked about Farm 2 Kids with the families. Families benefited from a delicious meal made from Farm 2 Kids produce while they learned about other ways they could receive help with food.
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Simple Steps to Prevent Falls
For adults over the age of 65, a fall can be devastating. If they're lucky, it requires a quick trip to an emergency room. For others, it could mean living in a skilled nursing facility or even worse – death.

And most falls are preventable, says Dr. Chris Bandy, Trauma Medical Director at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Vacaville, who has seen firsthand how a fall can change someone's life in an instant." Keeping your surroundings safe and your body strong and agile are the best ways to reduce the risk of injury from falls," says Dr. Bandy.
Here are some tips that Dr. Bandy suggests to keep you and the ones you love safe:
  • Keep shoes, bags, books, papers and other objects off the floor and out of walkways. This includes pet toys and food bowls.
  • Never use a chair as a step stool. Instead, use safety step stools or ladders with non-skid tread surfaces.
  • If you are outside doing work on your home, place your ladder on even ground and don't try to reach beyond what is safe.
  • Place a non-slip rubber mat or self-stick strips on the tub or shower floor.
  • Remove throw rugs, or use non-slip backing, so the rugs stay in place and edges stay flat.
Staying physically fit is also important. "Adults over 65 should aim for 30 minutes of physical activity each day, " says Dr. Bandy. "Exercise not only makes you feel good, but it will help keep your bones and muscles strong, and your joints flexible."

For those who have difficulty standing or walking or are using a wheelchair, check with your physician for exercises you can do to improve your health and physical ability. It is also a good idea to review any medications you may be taking, as some prescription and over-the counter medicines may make you sleepy or dizzy, which can make you more prone to fall. Consider getting your blood pressure checked too if you feel lightheaded, dizzy or faint when you stand.

For more ways to help prevent falls and information on how to stay healthy, talk to your health care team or visit
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Kaiser Permanente 2013 Grant & Sponsorship Program Announced
Kaiser Permanente is pleased to announce that we are accepting online applications for our 2013 Community Benefit Grant Program. Applications are due Friday, January 25 for grants from $10,000 to $25,000.

Our goal is to support a range of activities to enrich the health of our communities by strengthening and enhancing programs and organizations that address the health needs of our most vulnerable residents.

Through a community needs assessment, we identify priority health and social needs to guide our contributions to the community. The health priority needs identified through 2013 are:
  • Increase access to prevention and primary care services
  • Reduce obesity and overweight rates in adults and children
  • Decrease risky teen behaviors
  • Prevention of community violence
  • Reduce health disparities
A "KP in the Community" Informational Webinar was held on December 6, 2012 to provide updates and other information highlighting the 2013 grant and sponsorship process. If you did not participate in the webinar and would like to receive updates, or if you have other questions about our grants process, please send email to Applicants for 2013 Community Benefit Grant Program funds will be notified of results on our before May 17, 2013.

To learn more, visit the Napa Solano Community benefit website at

Kaiser Permanente Event Sponsorships

If you are interested in having Kaiser Permanente sponsor your health-related event in 2013, please click here for more information. Applications are due twice per year: January 15, 2013 and May 15, 2013.

For more information, contact Public Affairs at 707-651-3671.
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Annual Luncheon, Special Projects, Community Events, Educational Theater Program (ETP)
CB Luncheon and Grantee Workshop – SPRING 2013 (date to be determined)

Box Tops for Education - As part of the "Box Tops for Education" program, Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit will assist eight Napa-Solano elementary schools in securing additional funds to provide students with essential school supplies. Click here to find a collection bin in your area. Collection will run through February 2013.

Education Theater Program (ETP) - Kaiser Permanente's live theatrical performances spread the word about good health to school-aged children and communities throughout Northern California. To view a list of upcoming ETP live performances at local schools throughout Napa and Solano counties, click here.
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Community Connection
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