What is the Poe Center for Health Education?
The Poe Center for Health Education has been teaching the youth of North Carolina since 1991 about the importance of healthy habits in regard to physical activity, lifestyle choices, and healthy eating habits. To do this, the Poe Center offers programs on nutrition and physical activity, adolescent development, general health, substance use prevention, dental health, bullying prevention, mental wellness, and cooking and gardening education.
Kids who go through this program even learn how to grow their own vegetables through their Garden to Kitchen program. The kids are introduced to three different kinds of fruits and vegetables to taste and learn about the importance of eating healthy. In fact, since its opening Poe Center has educated more than 1.3 million participants from 94 counties.
The Poe Center is composed of expert health educators that directly partner with schools and organizations across the state to provide health education to children and adults. 87% of the participants who have been through the health education program, reported back that the Poe Center for Health Education led them to make positive behavior changes after going through the program. The health educators and volunteers at the Poe Center strive to make their vision of having the children and youth of North Carolina live healthy lifestyles, come to life. To do this the Poe Center follows these five basic principles that help the foundation keep its vision alive:
Diversity: the Poe Center values diversity and honors all people without biases of any kind.
Proactivity: the volunteers and staff at the Poe Center strive to be innovative leaders and experts in the health education field, so that they may demonstrate the best practices through an open and collaborative environment.
Integrity: everyone involved with the foundation carries out the mission of being trustworthy, and professional and works in an ethical way with their internal and external relationships.
Communication: the Poe Center values listening to others in order to understand everyone's perspective and opinion while also speaking and writing in a timely and coherent fashion.
Respect: acknowledging and recognizing the dignity of all individuals is a key factor in how the staff at the Poe Center operates.
What has come from this?
Just last year the Poe Center for Health Education served a total of 31 counties in North Carolina alone. Among these counties, the Poe Center taught 44,928 participants in their 1,656 programs that happened last year! The Poe Center’s impact spread across the state as their Garden programs comprised over ¼ of SNAP-ED programs and their dental programs reached over 765 preschool and elementary-aged children.
If you don’t care to look at those statistics for just how large the Poe Center’s impact is on the youth of North Carolina, read this quote from a participant who went through their Eat Well Program which highlights and teaches the importance of eating well by offering healthy alternatives to make at home.
“We make the tortilla pizza at home all the time now. It is something safe for my daughter to make when she is home alone and she really enjoys it.”
- CookWELL, Eat Well Program Participant
In addition to teaching the children and the youth of North Carolina, the Poe Center has dived deep into helping whole communities with healthy eating habits. In 2022, the Poe Center developed a “Grower’s Market,” in Fuquay-Varina where the community can visit the market that provides freshly grown fruits and vegetables as well as accepting donations for local food banks. The market also offers educational and entertainment activities to the visitors, so that they can apply the information to their everyday life. In 2022, over 12,000 people visited the market!
Why talk about this?
After reading all that information about the Poe Center’s impact and background, you may be asking yourself; why is this being discussed?
Well, besides the amazing work that the Poe Center has done for local communities and across the entire state of North Carolina, the town of Apex is celebrating 150 years which started on February 28th, 2023. Through this celebration, we are dedicating time to talk about and highlight the important organizations that play such a valuable role in helping our community, such as the Poe Center for Health Education.
If you are interested in learning more about the Poe Center for Health Education, visit their website here They have several events in the works, including their annual conference in September, sign up here to attend or make a donation to help the Poe Center through this link . Poe was our 2021 Cares Partner and a community member you need to get to know.
Make sure to read our latest story celebrating Apex’s 150 years, here.
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Complied- Emily Freed