Giving Individuals the RIGHT Information and the BEST Education – Because of You

The mission of the Obesity Action Coalition is to elevate and empower individuals affected by obesity through education, advocacy and support.

Education is the first pillar of the OAC mission, and a key component of the OAC’s vision and goals. It is our belief that individuals should have access to the RIGHT information – information that is evidence-based and unbiased – so individuals can make educated decisions for themselves when it comes to their health. We are proud to say that to date we have distributed more than 2,000,000 educational pieces to individuals throughout the United States, with more than 500,000 of these educational resources given in 2014 alone!

Because of you, we bring the much-needed education to individuals who are searching for answers. This would not be possible without your support. 2014 brought many fantastic educational accomplishments for the OAC – from the translation of our educational brochures to Spanish, hosting a successful 3rd Annual Your Weight Matters National Convention, hosting our very first Your Weight Matters Local Event FREE-OF-CHARGE, and more!

We cannot emphasize enough that NONE of these accomplishments would have been possible without our members and supporters.

Perhaps one of the greatest educational achievements the OAC made this year, with the support of our individual donors, was the creation of the OAC’s Convention Scholarship Program. This program helps bring individuals to the OAC Convention who are in need of access to the best education and tools to support their journey with weight and health, including those who may not have the financial means to cover all costs associated with taking part in an in-person meeting. We were proud to bring 13 individuals to the 2014 Convention through the Scholarship Program, and we are excited to continue and expand the Program in 2015.

To emphasize the importance of the OAC’s efforts, one of our scholarship recipients shares her experience at this year’s National Convention and how the OAC’s education has made an impact on her life. We invite you to read Jennifer’s story and consider making a TAX-DEDUCTIBLE YEAR-END DONATION to support the OAC’s ongoing educational initiatives:

Jennifer Shoalmire

As I’ve traversed on my “Journey to Healthy,” I’ve learned some really great strategies from many different weight loss surgery (WLS) survivors, both in-person and online. One of the survivors, Shelly, whom I finally met in-person at the 2014 Your Weight Matters Convention, maintains a blog that consistently motivates me to make healthy choices.   She is a member of the OAC and suggested that I look into joining also, as another tool that might be beneficial to me on my journey. I immediately went to the OAC website to learn more about their organization and how I might be able to contribute.

The first thing I was struck with was the affordability of membership in the OAC. Secondly, I noticed that there was an educational conference where I would be able to learn from the leading experts in the world of medical wellness and healthy living. The Convention was scheduled to be held in September, and as a teacher it would cost me several personal days away from my students to attend. In addition to this, the cost of the convention, travel and hotel put this opportunity out of reach for my family’s budget.  However, not long after becoming a member of the OAC, I received an email notice in regards to scholarships being available for members who might need financial assistance. 

Part of the application process required me to tell my story of my “Journey to Healthy.” I am a teacher. I believe in making healthy choices for myself, my students and my family, every day. As a result of my core beliefs and my acceptance of my situation, I elected to have gastric bypass surgery because of my co-morbidities: hypertension, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and depression. Two years later, with the Grace of God and the very dedicated support of my family and friends, I have lost over 200 pounds and I no longer have any co-morbidities.  I tell you this to let you know that writing about this part of my journey in my scholarship application was a time for me to share with others about my struggles with obesity.  Applying for the scholarship and writing about my story was one of many legs of my journey.

I was fortunate enough to receive one of the 13 scholarships, and I knew when they emailed me that this was part of the plan all along. There was no way I could afford the convention and the time off from work.  Receiving the scholarship was a huge financial blessing for me and my family, and it helped me to continue on my journey. Not only did it give me an opportunity to take time off from teaching, it gave me time to focus on myself, my personal well-being and my “Journey to Healthy.”

At the Your Weight Matters Convention I was able to learn many successful, positive, healthy strategies in the means of personal weight management and how to implement these in my new way of life.  I learned from leading experts on exercise, eating struggles, healthy food options and personal growth. I met most of the OAC employees, made four new close friends, and got to spend time exercising with some really great instructors. 

Receiving the scholarship and education from the conference has impacted me in many different ways. For instance, I was able to buckle the regular seatbelt on the plane trip, which I’d been unable to do for at least the last 20 years. I knew that this experience would make a difference in my life and it certainly has done so. I will be sharing what I have learned from the OAC and the YWM Convention with my local support group this month, and I will be encouraging them to join the OAC as well. 

Education is vital to our personal growth and development. My personal journey is ongoing, and will be forever. I am inspired, in part because of my OAC membership. I am encouraging each of you to take the next step on your personal journey and join me in becoming a member of the OAC and educate yourself to become your personal best, and, if you are able, to support the OAC and its efforts! 

-  Jennifer E. Shoalmire

“Ferfer’s Journey to Healthy”

Jennifer’s story is just one example of how the OAC’s educational efforts touch the lives of individuals across the United States. DONATE TODAY to support the OAC’s education. Your donation WILL make a difference and help us continue bringing the RIGHT information to those in need.

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