Fruitful Fall for We Can!

Girl running while flying kite

Fall tends to be a time when many of us load our families into the car and drive out to local festivals brimming with pumpkins, the promise of bobbing for apples, hayrides with the kids, and more.

And, where there are families gathering, there's a golden opportunity for We Can!

We Can! supporters in Indiana didn't need to be encouraged to spread the We Can! message to a captive, festival audience. They dove right in. Parkview Hospital, a We Can! community site, seized the opportunity offered by the "Fort-4 Fitness Health Festival" September 26–27 in Fort Wayne.

Not only did the festival feature Fort Wayne's first, certified half-marathon and a four-mile run/walk, it also offered a health fair and healthy-food expo. Parkview Hospital set up the We Can! booth and materials with brochures, samples of the Parent Handbook, and handouts with nutritional information for the fair's 2,000 or so attendees.

"People who stopped by the booth were most enthusiastic about the fact that We Can! is free," said Meghann Whetstone, a registered dietitian in Fort Wayne.

The booth provided attendees with a preview of the We Can! programming for parents and youth that Parkview helped launch a couple of weeks later. On October 6, Parkview kicked off a series of We Can! programs rotating to different sites, in order to make those classes widely accessible to a broad array of audiences.

The series features the We Can! Parent Program (taught by two community nurses) and the CATCH Kids Club curriculum (led by two dietitians), and run every Monday evening for four weeks.

And, forget about hiring a babysitter. Parents are encouraged to bring their children. The program has interactive elements that make learning fun for kids, too. Plus, no one has to miss dinner. One of the class activities includes making a quick and healthy meal, such as a sandwich wrap.

Speaking of healthy foods, Parkview Hospital took a second bite off of the proverbial apple, as well. On October 16, it set up the We Can! booth and materials at its annual fall festival—Applefest.

Applefest drew more than 7,000 attendees. Counting these two festivals alone, the We Can! message was made available to some 9,000 Indianans. Add that to a potential audience of some 59,000 subscribers to Fort Wayne's The Journal Gazette, and coverage by two local TV stations about the health festival, and you can say that We Can! reaped a full harvest in Indiana this fall.

Last Updated: February 13, 2013