University Making a Difference in Stockton
Through efforts both large and small, both formal and informal, CSU Stanislaus is making a positive impact in the Stockton area. At the CSU Stanislaus Stockton Center, welfare recipients looking to get back to work have a valuable resource in the Wellness WORKs! program. A partnership between the university and San Joaquin County Behavioral Health Services, Wellness WORKs! offers classes and activities for CalWORKs participants, providing much-needed education and training to help them reenter the workforce.
The center offers classes that cover self-esteem building, personal appearance, physical wellness, anger and stress management, healthy eating habits, conflict resolution, money management, being a working parent and more. Last year, Wellness WORKs! served 650 clients, bringing its 13-year total to nearly 7,700. "With programs like this, CSU Stanislaus fulfills its commitment to contribute to the enrichment of the diverse population it serves," program coordinator Diane Feneck said. "Case managers often tell us that clients are far more compliant in welfare-to-work activities and much more motivated to seek employment or education after attending Wellness WORKs!"
Through its connection with the CSU Stanislaus School of Nursing, Wellness WORKs! also offers Wellness Clinics each fall. Led by Associate Professor Carolyn Martin -- and with help from graduate and undergraduate nursing students -- the clinics provide basic health screenings, education on various health topics and a list of community health resources.
In particular, the Wellness Clinics target important medical problems identified as major issues in San Joaquin County, such as diabetes, strokes, heart disease, obesity and asthma.
Nursing Students Volunteer Their Services
Meanwhile, some nursing students have taken it upon themselves to make a difference in the area. Karen Lee, a Tracy resident who's less than a year from completing her bachelor's degree in nursing, recently organized a volunteer effort to tackle an overflowing warehouse of donated medical and dental supplies at St. Mary's Dining Room in Stockton.
St. Mary's provides medical and dental services -- in addition to food, a clothing and hygiene center, and social services -- to homeless and low-income residents and families in the Stockton area. Lee was assigned there for community work by her adviser at CSU Stanislaus, and she came away so impressed by the center that she wanted to help even more.
"I have a heart for community involvement," Lee said. "I was impressed with how many people St. Mary's serves, so I said I'd come back and help them. They treat every person with dignity and respect, and they offer so many services."
Lee is chairperson of the CSU Stanislaus chapter of Breakthrough to Nursing, a project of the National Student Nurses Association designed in part to help nursing students become more aware of and sensitive to cultural diversity. She's planning additional community projects for the upcoming academic year.