Oregon Commission for the Blind Salutes 17 CHIP Graduates in Fellowship Hall Ceremony
Sunnyside Church hosted a graduation on April 4. In the presence of 40 family and friends, 17 people received certificates showing that they had completed another CHIP (Coronary Health Improvement Project) program conducted by the Oregon Commission for the Blind.
Two years ago, Ivonne Allen, who is a vocational rehabilitation counselor with the commission, referred a client, John Clark, to Sunnyside's first run of CHIP. Encouraged by CHIP director Becky Gentry, Clark led the 30-plus-member group. His cholesterol and glucose levels dropped by 26 and 22 points, respectively. His blood pressure readings went from 186/94 down to 148/80 and today is at 120/80, the recommended level. Chest pain? Gone.
When Clark told the members of the commission's board about his progress, they got so excited that they sent a team to Illinois to learn how to lead CHIP programs. Among the group—and the only blind member—Charlene Cook. Cook became the CHIP director for the Oregon Commission for the Blind.
Graduation exercises for the first three CHIP programs were held at the commission's Portland office building. However, due to major remodeling, they couldn't use the office for graduation for the fourth class. Instead of being discouraged by this, Cook phoned Harold Burden, health educator and veteran CHIP professional. His idea for a graduation venue: Sunnyside Church's Fellowship Hall. So it worked out to have the graduation at Sunnyside Church, whose members are grateful to be able to share the good news about good health and have the joy of making new friends in the community.
The class had great success following the program. For example, one participant saw her cholesterol drop from 301 to 222. Another class member lost 23 pounds. Over eight weeks, group members walked more than 1,000 miles.