Founded in response to the needs in our communities for reliable information, support, and participation in health promoting activities and experiences for our children, Third Circle leaders have been creatively working to develop programs and cultivate resources to meet those needs.
Our Mission Statement conveys two main spheres of activity:
access to integrative healthcare
experiences with growing healthy food and caring for themselves.
Empowering communities to take care of their children collectively
by facilitating access to integrative healthcare and experiences with
growing healthy food and caring for their own body, mind and spirit.
To those ends, we developed a Community Garden in 2013 and added an intern in 2014 to provide both the children and their families with the experience of growing healthy food together in our own neighborhood. We received help from the Greater Lansing Food Bank in the form ofgrant money, volunteers, and garden leader education training when we began and continue to receive their ongoing support and knowledge as we continue.
You can learn more about the Garden Project of the Greater Lansing Food Bank and our Community Garden on the Facebook Page and Website.
In 2014, we began a collaboration with the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and the Sparrow Family Practice Residency Program by engaging in a longitudinal study on the effect of experiential learning about nutrition and other lifestyle factors on the health of the children in our participating families. We have recruited families from the Leslie Community, where the garden is located.
After obtaining approval of the project through the institutional review board for research involving human subjects at Michigan State University, we began a series ofSunday afternoon events where we engaged the kids and their parents and extended family with activities where they learned about food, nutrition, and health and then participated as a group in making and eating a healthy meal together.
We collected food diaries and assessments of how the kids perceived their health status at the beginning and the end of these five meetings and are currently using that information to create another set of meetings this year.
We plan to move from our meetings right into gardening this spring, inviting the participants to continue to join us for the gardening season and share in the bounty the garden produces.
This project has been successful not only in helping families learn about healthy habits and make positive changes in their lives, it has also been instrumental in the education of the eight medical students and three residents who have participated thus far. Each year we will involve more residents and medical students as the study continues.
We have now held two “Back to School, Back to Health” events just before the start of the school years for 2014-15 and 2015-16.
We have a medical director (David Grimshaw, DO) who is the liaison with the Residents and Medical Students for the study and also provides families with medical advice and help obtaining needed services for the children involved. He coordinates medical information helping families to understand and assimilate the meaning of the child’s condition. He also provides help with referrals, treatment of problems, and access to both conventional and holistic forms of health care based on the needs and interests of the family.