The César Estrada Chávez Committee of Rhode Island honors AARP Rhode Island Associate State Director - Outreach Deborah Miller with the 2013 Cesar Chavez Award. She will be honored at State House ceremonies on Friday, March 29.
Deborah has been chosen as a recipient for her work in the Stanford Model chronic disease self-management program, Living Well Rhode Island, which started out in 2009. The Latino community opened its arms to it because so many people in that community have chronic diseases, especially diabetes. But people also embraced the program because it embraced Hispanic culture – not just the Spanish language, but the entire way of life in the community. The program was tailored just for this community. So it caught on. The program has a focus on nutrition, for example, it incorporated food that Latinos buy. They had already learned about the nutritional value of foods and what wis appropriate to eat with a chronic condition and now they have an opportunity to share their food and adjust their recipes. The lunch hour is set aside for sharing food and reconfigured recipes was a genuine educational moment, that’s when everyone learned on their terms – something Cesar Chavez would have appreciated.
There has been an important intergenerational aspect to Living Well Rhode Island, as well. We found that many young people participated because of parents or grandparents who had chronic diseases. And for AARP, it was very important to know that the information provided by the program was getting to the right person. So, working with Latino youth broke the ground for parents or grandparents to engage – and strengthened intergenerational relationships at the same time!
"We congratulate Deborah for recognition of her years of work supporting Living Well Rhode Island," said AARP State Director Kathleen Connell. "She clearly demonstrates AARP's ability to connect with communities in meaningful ways. In this case, she has helped people take control of their diets and lead healthier lives. This independence imbodies Cesar Chavez's view of finding one's own way in this world. AARP is proud to have a role in this process."