For individuals caught in a cycle of substance abuse and criminality, good nutrition and a balanced diet are low on the priority list. Recognizing the importance to educate its clients on making healthy food choices, the BI-operated Cambria County Day Reporting Center in Edensburg, Pa., is partnering with the Penn State Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program on their Nutrition Links program.
Through this partner program, Cambria’s clients have the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve a healthful diet on a limited budget. The program teaches participants how to stretch their food dollars and select and purchase nutritional foods for healthy meals. They then partake in lessons on food and nutrition safety and food preparation through demonstrations and hands-on cooking experiences, along with referencing newsletters and handouts, to gain the skills they need to make positive changes in their eating habits.
Nutrition Links complements BI’s treatment program at Cambria County’s Day Reporting Center by helping to change behaviors, teach healthy life skills and give people direction to make community connections and tap in to community resources. The program also provides a certificate of completion that can be used in the employment process, potentially for jobs in the food services industry.
As a result, the program helps participants break the cycle of dependency on emergency food systems, as well as alter cycles of poor nutrition, poor health and poor quality of life and become better at managing their food resources, diet and money more effectively to live healthier, happier, more productive lives.
Cambria County funded the DRC as a cost-effective alternative to detention. The center opened this spring. BI provides treatment and case management services at the Cambria County Day Reporting Center for offenders at risk of failing probation.