“It’s Lit To Be Fit,” a program featuring speakers from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources talking about health issues along with a fish fry luncheon that can be eaten on site or ordered to go, will be held on Friday, June 21, at ARC of the Three Rivers on the West Side.
The informational program will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Arc of the Three Rivers headquarters at 1412 Kanawha Blvd., W., in Charleston.
The luncheon, which costs $12 per person and will begin serving at 11 a.m., will be prepared by caterers the Leonards and include whiting fish, cole slaw, French fries and a beverage.
The speakers will start their free programs at 12:30 p.m. Certified professional trainer Allison Whitehead, who is also a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader, will speak on the topic of fitness and nutrition. WVDHHR Registered Nurse and Adviser Sandra Burrell will speak on diabetes and hypertension. Julie Jackson with the DHHR will follow and conclude the program with information about dental health.
Arc of the Three Rivers Community Integration Coordinator Melinda Morris said the first-time event is one she has wanted to produce for the community for some time.
“I feel that people do not always understand how different little bits of their health affect the other parts of their health,” Morris said. “For instance, dental care, if you let it go, it will kill you, leading to heart attack and things like that.
“I’m trying to bring in some people to discuss basic health issues I see around me every day,” Morris said.
Whitehead, she said, is a Rand native and Riverside High School graduate who became a cheerleader for the Cincinnati NFL franchise and now operates her own training and fitness studio, for clients of various ages, on the West Side.
“For people who come to this event,” Morris said, “Whitehead can help them lose weight. She has her own business doing that.”
Whitehead, who has operated The Studio Be Fit at 1825-B Bigley Ave. since August, offered a preview of her talk. “Whenever I go into speak with any groups or organizations,” she said, “I always like to touch on three main points: the basics of health and its importance, how to get started and, of course, along with that, I make sure to include a simple, more-or-less effective way to do that and keep going.
“The main thing I like to talk about are the myths of health. There are many within that, I usually go over food and nutrition; nutrition is huge, so I always make sure to touch on that,” Whitehead said.
She said she served as a cheerleader for the Bengals in 2012 and 2013 and, from then to 2015, she worked as a back-up choreographer for the cheer team.
“Being a professional cheerleader was just always something I wanted to do,” Whitehead said. “Honestly, it was something I put on my bucket list. I had the right opportunity, and it was the perfect timing in my life, so I went for it. ... I’ve always cheered, done gymnastics and been active my whole life.”
“There will also be discussions of diabetes and hypertension, which a lot of people have around here. Those are like the root of all evil,” Morris said with a laugh.
“We’ve never had a health program like this here before,” Morris said. “We want the people on the West Side or wherever to be able to attend things are free that can benefit their lives and make them feel better. The food they’re eating is not giving them what they need. There are other health issues impacting them. The medicine for high blood pressure makes you tired and can take away your memory. If they can avoid these things, they’ll feel better and live longer.
“My father-in-law died of diabetes. It’s a serious, serious thing. I don’t think people take it seriously enough, particularly with what they eat,” Morris said.
“It’s Lit To Be Fit is talking about the fact that our brain feels and works differently when a person has a good nutritional diet and is physically fit. Our hormones change, which uplifts our mood, and gives us energy and confidence. Plus, it is a fountain of youth to be in shape and eating well,” she added.
For further information about “It’s Lit to Be Fit,” contact Melinda Morris at 304-344-3403 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the Arc of the Three Rivers and its programs for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities is posted on the web at www.arcthreerivers.org