AUSTIN — The Master Wellness Volunteer program for Travis County is looking for volunteers to participate in its community health and wellness outreach efforts, said the local program coordinator, Leticia Neal.
“The Master Wellness Volunteer program is an initiative of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service,” said Sonia Coyle, the agency’s family and consumer sciences agent for Travis County. “It provides volunteers with 30 hours of training in health, wellness and nutrition education, and in return, volunteers agree to give back 40 hours in wellness-related community service.”
Master Wellness Volunteers are required to attend five classes to reach the minimum 30 hours of training, Coyle said.
Coyle said the next Master Wellness Volunteer training will be held at the AgriLife Extension office at 1600 B-Smith Road in Austin. It will be held on five consecutive Thursdays from late January to late February. Scheduled times for the training will be from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Jan. 22 and 29, and Feb. 5, 12 and 19.
Evening classes will be available upon request on Tuesdays from 5:30-9:00 p.m. on Jan. 27 and Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24.
“The training will focus on nutrition and wellness, making healthy choices and food safety,” she said. “Volunteers will be provided the necessary tools and information to facilitate or assist in the implementation of a physical activity program called ‘Walk Across Texas,’ a weight-loss program called ‘Step Up & Scale Down,’ and a nutrition program called ‘Better Living for Texans.’”
She said opportunities for volunteers are diverse and no previous health or wellness training is required to become a Master Wellness Volunteer.
“The only requirement is an interest in living healthfully and helping instruct others on how to do the same,” Coyle said. “Our current volunteers include retirees, school teachers and students, community leaders, homemakers and other civic-minded individuals.”
Coyle said volunteer activities include providing nutrition and wellness instruction in small community venues, such as churches, schools, community centers and businesses.
“While volunteer opportunities are coordinated through the AgriLife Extension office, volunteers are also welcome to use their training at their own selected community sites or within their own organization,” she said.
A fee of $50 will cover the cost of instruction and materials. Each participant receives a binder with copies of all training presentations.
“Being a Master Wellness Volunteer doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get up in front of people and teach a class,” she added. “It can also mean helping with administrative tasks, data entry, designing newsletters, fliers and updating our Facebook page. There is something for everyone.”
Wellness is about the health of mind, body and spirit, Coyle said.
“The Master Wellness Volunteer program helps to promote the overall wellness of the community through teaching people about proper nutrition, being healthy and having a positive attitude,” she said.
To register as a Travis County Master Wellness Volunteer, call the AgriLife Extension office at 512-854-9652. The deadline for registration is Jan.12, 2015.