By Gary Gray
The popular Color My World Healthy Library at Carver Recreation Center is home to an established medical and healthy lifestyle learning environment, and a larger swath of the community is being asked to join in to help produce positive results for both kids and adults.
Launched in 2008 thanks to federal grants from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, ETSU’s Quillen College of Medicine Medical Library and Carver joined hands to create programs and workshops taught by medical students. The Color My World Healthy Library has gained steam, bringing more than 200 kids to various programs in the latest nine-week period.
“We are trying to get more kids interested, and hope to eventually find candidates that go on to receive scholarships to become health professionals,” said Elaine Evans, Quillen College of Medicine Medical Library consumer health information specialist and Color My World program coordinator. “A lot of ETSU students want to come to Carver. Right now, only the after-school kids take advantage of this. We want to make all schools aware of this opportunity.”
A link to information and offerings at the library will be coming soon to Johnson City’s website, and various social media strategies are in play in hopes of growing the program as students return this fall. Programs offered include Meet the Doctor, Anatomy on Display, Sit 2 Be Fit, Ready Set Fit, Nutrition, Keep Kids off Drugs and much more.
The library includes new computers, books, brochures and DVDs, which provide easy access to consumer health information. Instructors teach classes about how to find reliable healthcare information using the Internet. Overall, the partnership is designed to help bridge the health-disparities gap in the community.
“We’re trying to get the word out and get the entire community involved,” said Herb Greenlee, Carver supervisor. “We’ll be meeting with local churches and other entities that do health-related programs, and we hope to develop a monthly program as well as an annual health fair. Everyone is welcome to participate, and we have 15 seniors each week who attend our Sit 2 Be Fit program. We also want to tie into the school system and provide visits by specialists in hearing, vision and others.
“I’ve been here 32 years. Before 2008, we didn’t have a health program. The medical students and doctors come in and say what’s best for your body. A lot of kids are really hungry for that. They understand they can help solve problems their parents may be experiencing. It’s more than just looking at a cell phone. You have to talk to them.”
Evans said the primary focus is on education and prevention of serious health and wellness problems. She also hopes to see clinicians visit schools once a month to inform students about the opioid epidemic.
Currently, information about the program can be found on the university’s website at www.etsu.edu/com/colormyworld. Soon, the public will be able to go to Johnson City’s website, www.johnsoncitytn.org, then click Parks and Recreation, recreation centers and Carver Recreation Center. There you will find a bright yellow Color My World Healthy icon that will take you to the site.
Information also can be obtained by contacting Evans at 423.439.6254, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Greenlee at 423.461.8830, email@example.com.