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Helen Silvis of The Skanner News
Published: 17 October 2011

Dr Cheryl Neal with Jedidiah Ibe who won the drawing and took the MIKE quilt home 

Highland Christian Center hosted 'Are You Ready?' last Saturday Oct. 15, an event showcasing services for residents of East Portland. Dr. Cheryl Neal, founder of the MIKE healthy living program; Multnomah County health Equity staff; Steve Bullock, an emergency preparedness specialist with the county, and Pastor W. G. Hardy were among the speakers.

Pastor Hardy said the event was just the start of what organizers hope will be multiple events designed to help link East Portland residents to resources. East Portland has seen a rise in population and is now home to 40 percent of the city's school age children.

Linda Hornbuckle (L) and Barbara Willer

It also has become one of the most diverse areas in the city. Yet transportation and social service provision still lags.

Pastor W.G. Hardy introduced the event.

Neal said that kidney failure has risen sharply among youth along with diabetes and high blood pressure. The toll is worst for African Americans, particularly for men. Yet 70 percent of kidney failure is preventable, through changing your diet and eating healthy foods like fruit, vegetables, grains and beans. The MIKE program takes healthcare students into schools to work with high schoolers on projects about healthy eating.

Bullock explained that in a crisis, local governments are the first-line responders. But when emergencies strike, thousands of people are affected and most of us will have to rely on our families and friends. That's why the county asks everyone to prepare in advance and have some water, food and other items stored. Bullock also urged city residents to get trained in the Neighborhood Emergency Training program or get involved in mapping your neighborhood, a program that identifies what resources exist in your own neighborhoods.

Crystal Wabnum, (L) and Anna Madden

Mariotta Gary Smith, a health educator with the African American sexual health equity program, said disparities in Sexually Transmitted Diseases and teen pregnancy are rarely discussed in Portland's Black community. They should be, she says, because communication is the key to protecting teens and young adults from the negative consequences of sex. Program specialists will offer talks to parents, teachers, church groups and adults who mentor teens as well as directly to high schoolers and young adults.

James Morris of Northwestern Mutual Financial discussed the value of financial planning and how to make sure you are getting good advice from your financial advisor.

The Skanner News Publisher B

James Morris with Ted McCauley

ernie Foster held a draw. Prizes included: a quilt made for the MIKE program and several pounds of coffee.

Members of Multnomah County's African American Sexual Health Program standing in front of Steve Bullock .

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