Profile of Hope: Patricia Ealey discusses her experience with Project SHARE

Editor March 20th

Patricia Ealey is a Harlem resident and a participant in Project SHARE—a program aiming to decrease blood pressure for people living and working in Upper Manhattan. Although Patricia has always been health-conscious, she recently learned through a Project SHARE screening that she had high blood pressure. To lower her pressure, she decided to work with Project SHARE to improve her diet and exercise. Here, Patricia tells us about her experience working with Project SHARE Community Health Worker, Tenisha Dewindt,  and how it helped her to achieve her goals.

Q: Do you feel that the time put into Project SHARE was worth it for you?
A: Yes, Project SHARE was worth it- the program made me aware that my blood pressure was up! This was a surprise for me. From that point onwards, I was able to use that knowledge to take control of my health and check-in regularly to make sure my blood pressure was under control and decreasing. I think joining Project SHARE was perfect timing for me. I had no problems with the program and I enjoyed it! My Community Health Worker, Tenisha DeWindt, is an excellent person and I told her that.

Q: Yes, it’s like you mentioned with your exercise class , you have to like who your instructor is.
A: Exactly, you have to connect with who you are working with or learning from, because otherwise it doesn’t work. Every time I came in and met with Tenisha we had a great connection . Because of our relationship, I always felt like I wanted to tell her when I bought or tried unhealthy foods, so she provided me with a great amount of accountability in that sense. Accountability is a huge part of Project SHARE; when you have to check in regularly with someone about your health, you naturally start to take better care of yourself. Also, Tenisha was very flexible with me, in terms of scheduling my appointments. For anyone who is struggling with making their appointment times, or who thinks they cannot commit to Project SHARE because of timing, the Community Health Workers will work with you to incorporate your meetings into your schedule. They offer early and late appointments and are very accommodating.

Q: Would you have been able to reach your goals without Project SHARE? Did the program help you to do things that you probably couldn’t have done on your own?
A: Project SHARE definitely helped me. As I mentioned, I wasn’t trying to lose weight, per se, but ultimately I did through the program. My normal weight used to be 138, but I gained a few pounds after I stopped working. I worked for 38 years, and when you stop working you find you are no longer getting up and going out every day, or that you are opening the refrigerator in the middle of the day because you didn’t have that option at work! So Project SHARE helped me to lose the weight I had been planning to lose since I stopped working. It helped me get back to my normal weight. The program also provided me with valuable practical information on things like food preparation. This helped me to make small, but meaningful healthy choices in my day-to-day activities.

Q: Would you recommend Project SHARE to a friend or family member?
A: Absolutely, I would encourage anyone to join SHARE. The program covers so many important things, like eating healthy, fitness goals, and lowering blood pressure. The community health workers will help you with whatever you would like to work on. If you are serious about setting goals and getting healthy, Project SHARE is a terrific way to do it.

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