OLYMPIA - Thurston County will provide free training to interested volunteers as part of a new program to support healthy homes in the community. Volunteers will participate in 30 hours of training and then complete 30 hours of Healthy Homes community service.-30-
The program will provide free Healthy Homes visits to houses, rental units, and childcare centers in Thurston County with the goal of promoting improved indoor air quality, reduced exposure to harmful substances, and increased safety for those living there. Healthy Home volunteers can also participate in booths at health fairs and other community events, give presentations to civic groups, work on special projects with childcare providers, write articles for community newsletters, and other forms of outreach.
Volunteers need not be health care providers or building specialists. The free volunteer training is geared toward individuals who enjoy working with others to improve their own health and the health of their community. The training will consist of a range of expert speakers and hands-on practice that will prepare volunteers to perform in-home visits. Program support will be available to each volunteer in the form of ongoing training, educational resources, checklists, referrals, and call-in support.
Training begins Thursday, January 19, 2012 from 6:00 P.M. until 9:00 P.M. and continues every Thursday evening until March 22 (10 weeks). Sessions are held at the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department at 412 Lilly Rd. NE, Olympia, 98506; across from St. Peter Hospital. Intercity transit bus routes # 60, 62A, and 62B serve the area. To apply or find out more, contact coordinator, Jane Mountjoy-Venning at HealthyHomes@co.thurston.wa.us or 360-867-2674 (TDD 360-867-2603.)
During a Healthy Homes visit, a pair of volunteers meets with residents and walks through the home to complete a Healthy Homes checklist. The walk-through will address ways the resident can reduce exposure to toxins, asthma triggers, mold, lead, and other housing-related health risks. According to Dr. Diana Yu, Health Officer with Thurston County Public Health and Social Services, "Having an extra set of eyes to look at potential problem areas in a home can help people see ways to make changes that can improve the health of everyone living in the home. Even small changes can make a big difference." Residents will be given a list of customized recommendations for their situation.
This program's goals are to improve access to information about healthy home environments, to empower and inform a dedicated team of community volunteers, and to improve the health of Thurston County residents, with a particular emphasis on children. The Healthy Homes program is funded through a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Children’s Health Protection.
Individuals interested in volunteering or having a Healthy Homes visit at their home or childcare location should contact the Healthy Homes Program Coordinator, Jane Mountjoy-Venning at HealthyHomes@co.thurston.wa.us or 360-867-2674 (TDD 360-867-2603.)