By Kirsten J. Barnes
CCBP Graduate Assistant
As part of its participation in the Saving Lives Academy program, College Hill Baptist Church featured a wellness clinic during its Alberta Community Extravaganza on July 14, 2018.
The church invited specialists from the DCH Regional Medical Center, Maude Whatley Health Services, Inc, Five Horizons Health Services (formerly West Alabama AIDS Outreach) and other area medical personnel to provide valuable health information to the community during the annual festival.
College Hill is one of the founding partners of Saving Lives, an outreach of The University of Alabama’s Division of Community Affairs and its Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP). Saving Lives has recently expanded to include training church members to be leaders in health advocacy.
“God does not dwell in an unclean place or unhealthy places. So we want to make sure that our bodies are healthy,” said College Hill pastor Rev. Kelvin Croom, “Believe it or not, that is one way that Satan attacks God’s people. Sometimes you can get so busy that you can forget about the physical part. With no physical house, there is no spiritual house.”
Croom said the church attempts to incorporate healthy choices in all of its outreach and leadership activities. The church does this by making healthy choices in food preparation for all its events and by adding exercise opportunities.
“We’ve always done outreach,” said Croom. “This is a means of evangelizing outside of the walls of the church. What we’re doing here today is an opportunity to give back to the community.”
The day before the festival, the church conducted a blood drive. Croom’s son, Kevin Croom, has organized a youth basketball league.
The younger Croom said that after the 2011 tornado, Alberta City underwent significant changes. “The area has a lot of homeless people and they come to the church all the time and I talk to them because I’m here a lot. Many of them have lost their insurance or don’t have insurance,” he said. “So, today I have invited them to come out so they can at least learn how to get free medicine or where to get health care services.”
Javis Lanier serves as a Saving Lives advocate for College Hill and was instrumental in organizing the health fair. “I love being a part of Saving Lives because of the compassion to help people gain knowledge,” he said. “I have learned things that I can incorporate into my daily life and share with others, such as what foods not to eat, how to exercise and how to recognize disease signs and symptoms.”
He said the church decided this year to fold the health fair into the community festival in an effort to reach more people.
“We are trying to engage the community with something fun, but also include healthcare screenings, something serious,” said Lanier.
Healthcare professionals provided information about HIV/AIDS, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, heat related illnesses, cancer and pregnancy. In addition, people could get their blood pressure and weight checked.
“We’re always looking at a means of giving back to the community, but we also need to have fun as Christians,” the Rev. Croom said.
Saving Lives is an initiative led by Dr. Nicole B. Prewitt, CCBP director of programs and partnerships in the Division of Community Affairs. To learn more about the program, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-348-9819.