Healthy Families Class Celebrates 20-Year Anniversary


In mid-July, Dismas Charities Corporate Office was the site for the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Healthy Families Class, an initiative begun in 1996 to provide basic cooking classes and other life skills for women in depressed areas and in particular the Park Hill and Beecher Terrace neighborhoods. The anniversary event celebrated the ladies who participate in the weekly classes which are designed to teach life skills like healthy cooking, personal and family health, child care, family financial management, home care and other personal skills, job readiness, and motivation for an improved quality of life. Founding Volunteer Phyllis Fitzgerald (second from left in front row) and volunteers Tomy Molloy and Dr. Diana Pantalos, also hold potluck suppers for the area’s residents during Thanksgiving and at Christmas. Each Thursday, an average of 15 women, some with children in tow and occasionally a man or two, learn how to prepare economical, well-balanced meals. They also learn healthy food initiatives, parenting, self-confidence, compassion for self and others, and homemaking. Food is prepared and attendees receive the ingredients to make the dish at home. Incentives to attend include hygiene items, and door prizes, such as clothing and household items. Attendees often talk of their close, warm feelings for each other and gratitude about being a part of the class where they have learned so much and felt so safe with each other. Dr. Pantalos is a registered dietician, and Molloy works for Family and Children’s agency. Dismas has financially supported this program since its inception with staff and resident assistance. Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher prepared a Proclamation naming the day Healthy Family Class Day. Music was provided by Erin, one of Fitzgerald’s twin daughters and each participant received a personalized certificate acknowledging their unique contributions. They later received a framed photo and video of the entire event.


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