Stretching To EmPower is AHEC West's opioid-prevention program that serves women residing in public housing in Allegany County. Funded under a three-year grant by the federal Office on Women's Health, STEP is closing in on its first year, with many exciting developments having taken place!
Teddy Bear Drive at Bel-Air
Elementary - Jen Thomas and
Sherriff Craig Robertson
The overall goals of STEP are to educate, connect, strengthen, and empower women regarding the risks associated with opioids, and to encourage a healthy lifestyle in which participants take ownership of their own well-being as well as their family's.
The inaugural STEP programs were held at Grande View Apartments in Westernport, and Jane Frazier Village and Queen City Towers in Cumberland.  A session in Frostburg is scheduled to beg i n on July 10 and will run through September 11, 2018.

 The  sessions  begin with 30 minutes of education featuring topics like how to talk to your doctor, "food as medicine," mindfulness, and stress reduction, followed by a 60-minute yoga class. P articipants have self-reported feeling more "connected" to their neighbors, being empowered through knowledge about opioids and other self-care topics, and achieving physical improvements through their participation in weekly yoga.

Mini Mindfulness and Yoga lesson
at South Penn PreK
   Other exciting developments
 happening in and around STEP include:
  • Partnership with Health Quality Innovators "Blue Bag Initiative" to promote medication safety
  • Mini-mindfulness and yoga lessons for South Penn PreK students
  • Mindfulness presentations at local schools to promote testing success
  • Participation and promotion of STEP at a Community Baby Shower
  • STEP website development in the works
  • Women's retreat days, resistance band exercise classes, and cooking demos coming soon
  • Empowered Health Consciousness Facilitator training underway
  • In collaboration with local law enforcement offices -- which are agency partners in STEP --  a Teddy Bear Drive for the youngest victims of opioids, to raise awareness and provide hope 
Program Coordinator: Jen Thomas
301-777-9150 x109

AHEC  West
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