by Brian Manning
HUERFANO- If you see people around Huerfano County taking pictures with disposable cameras, they might be part of a project called Photovoice. It is a program designed to fight obesity and encourage healthier living.
Volunteers from around the county will be documenting through photographs, barriers to healthy living and barriers that might interfere with people’s mobility. The photos will also help educate people on living a healthier life.
The project is sponsored by LiveWell Colorado and the Spanish Peaks Hospital and will be supervised by Cindy Campbell, the LiveWell Coordinator here in Walsenburg and Elaine Borton from LiveWell Colorado. They will be working with the volunteers throughout the project. They held a kick-off meeting on November 9 in the Outreach Clinic in Walsenburg with about 15 people attending from all parts of the county.
All the volunteers attending the meeting were given a disposable camera and instructions on best photography methods and were told to take pictures that would show issues affecting health. They were cautioned to respect people’s privacy and personal rights.
The photographs will be used as a tool for communication after being reviewed by the volunteers who will eventually make a presentation to engage community members in positive change. They will help the community to discuss these issues and recognize problems which prevent people from living a more active and healthier lifestyle.
Some areas of focus will be broken playground equipment or the lack of parks, unusable sidewalks, school vending machines that sell high calorie products. Lack of sports for all youths and other activities might also be considered. Volunteers are encouraged to show strengths and weaknesses in the community in photographs and also to highlight positive areas in the county that should be utilized by residents.
The final presentation will be made in the spring, and the intent is to bring attention to policy changes that might be needed. People will be encouraged to make small steps in the beginning and build to achieve a healthier lifestyle. The end result could be a healthier Huerfano County.