Funds come courtesy of state Health Literacy program
By Traci Chapman
Mustang Public Library will enhance its healthy options as the new year gets into full swing, thanks to a $4,000 health literacy grant awarded by Oklahoma Department of Libraries.
Mustang was one of 26 entities that jointly received more than $178,000 in Oklahoma Health Literacy Project’s ninth year, state officials said. The federal Institute of Museum Institute provides the awarded funds dedicated to health and wellness programs.
In Mustang those funds this year would be utilized for healthy eating programs for children and adults, as well as music and movement for preschoolers.
Mustang library director Julie Slupe said last week the schedule and confirmation of lesson topics for adult cooking classes were not yet confirmed as of press time; Slupe and Ashley Patten, Mustang adult activities director and director of the city’s adult activities/senior center, were coordinating on that program.
“I am looking forward to partnering with Ashley (Patten) and participants from the senior center,” Slupe said. “We are purchasing a cooking demo cart and can’t wait for the funds to be approved by the City Council so we can make that dream a reality.”
Sheila Barnard, library youth services instructor, would be coordinating with Donna Stangl-Jung, Oklahoma State University Extension’s Canadian County family and consumer sciences and 4-H educator on healthy eating classes, dedicated to children and youth. Those classes, according to the schedule provided by Slupe, included offerings entitled smart snacks, splendid salads, fit air fryer, sassy stir fry and involved other things like smoothies, waffles and frozen fruits and more, the schedule showed.
Children and youth classes were broken into two groups – 3rd through 5th graders and a second teen section for 6th through 12th grade participants. Classes for the first were scheduled as of press time for Feb. 1, March 1, April 5, May 3, June 7, July 19 and Aug. 2; teen sessions were set for Feb. 2, March 2, April 6, May 4, June 8, July 20 and Aug. 3.
For preschoolers and their caregivers who like to move to their own beat, music and movement sessions were set at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 6 and Feb. 20, Slupe said.
During the 2019-2020 grant cycle, a record number of Oklahomans – 32,000, according to grant data released by ODL – participated in health and wellness programs made possible by health literacy grants, ODL literacy coordinator Leslie Gelders said. That number was even more striking, she said, because several programs were held virtually because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The program has been lauded beyond Oklahoma’s borders, with Gelders serving on numerous panels at national health and literacy conferences, and the state agency was included in a three-year national study of small and rural library health and wellness programs, she said.
Offerings made possible by the ODL grants remain crucial to improving residents’ habits and long-term health across the state – Oklahoma was ranked 46th in the United States in a 2019 America’s health rankings conducted by United Health Foundation.
“When these local programs started attracting so many people outside of the original target group, we realized there was a great demand for health information and healthy activities by the population as a whole,” Gelders said. “We quickly adapted the grant opportunity to help libraries and literacy organizations develop programs to address that demand.”
Mustang Public Library is located in Town Center and is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and is closed Sunday. Masks are required of all people 4 years old and up entering the library and/or participating in events and activities inside.
More information about the library is available on its website, https://cityofmustang.org/library or on its social media pages on Facebook and Twitter.