Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Teaches Healthy Living

Caption: Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring program alumnus keeping up on his reporting

The stress and disruption from COVID-19 has put exercise and healthy eating on the backburner for many. Your support of the Y is playing a critical role in helping our community maintain and regain their health.

The Y is a home to evidence-based, chronic disease prevention programs, like the Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring (BPSM) program.

High blood pressure affects one in three Americans and often shows no symptoms. Checking your blood pressure regularly is the best way to assess your risk of a heart attack or stroke. BPSM focuses on building a healthy lifestyle and creating a habit of checking your blood pressure.

Each participant is given a blood pressure cuff and one-on-one coaching from a Healthy Heart Ambassador. Nutrition topics – like whole foods and the DASH Diet, how to successfully eat out, meal planning, reading food labels, healthy recipe swaps – to the importance of exercise, the program offers education and support.

The program does NOT stress perfection. “It’s about adopting one or two new habits at a time, then moving on to the next one,” Carrie Koch, a program Healthy Heart Ambassador shared, “this is about positive lifestyle changes, not a diet.”

Caption: Healthy Heart Ambassador, Carrie Koch, hosts a program check-in over Zoom

BPSM converted to digital to keep engaging participants when the Y was temporarily closed. Now the program can be offered through Zoom, to meet participants where they are. “One participant was able to connect during her lunch break without even leaving work.” This digital offering removes barriers for many participants.

The program produces results. Carrie shared how one participant adjusted, became interested in nutrition, and learned how to cook healthy for himself instead of eating out or sticking to processed foods. Another participant was able to adjust her lifestyle to prevent needing blood pressure medication. “They made it a habit.”

Carrie’s favorite part is chatting one-on-one with participants. “I love people – connecting and helping – talking through struggles and successes. Watching the lightbulbs and celebrating their accomplishments.” Carrie is on a team of Healthy Heart Ambassadors at our Y.

If you or anyone you know are interested in this community resource, you can request to join online, call 219-462-4185, or stop in at the Y.

Thank you for strengthening our community (and hearts!) with free programs like Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring! Special thank you's to program grant funders Porter County Community Foundation and Y-USA. 



Partnership with Valparaiso Schools: E-Learning Wednesday

Photo Caption: Our E-Learners are enjoying a STEAM Lego building challenge, where the topics change every few minutes!

In response to the new E-Learning format, the Y has teamed up with Valparaiso Schools to serve community children. The schools provide hot breakfast and lunch and transportation if needed. Y staff work with students on their homework, make sure they can get on Zoom, and make the day fun!

One parent shared their son’s success with the program, “We were worried about how he would do with E-Learning. I was prepared to take time off work, but he loved it at the Y. We want to sign up for every week.” This new program allows working parents affordable care. E-Learning Wednesdays are 6:00am-6:00pm and $30 a day. Your support as donors provide income-based scholarships, making sure every family has access to quality care during E-Learning days.


You Make All the Difference!

Your support builds a strong community and promotes healthy mind, body and spirit for all. Your help is needed to continue this mission, helping our community regain health and connection.

Have you had a chance to make your Annual Campaign gift this year? If you are able, we invite you to show your support today.