Last updated: September 04. 2013 9:28AM - 1111 Views
Natalie Netzel Staff Writer

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NEWBERRY — Every month at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer on Boundary Street, workshops are held on various health topics to assist Latinos in Newberry County.

PASOs — the word “steps” in Spanish — has groups around the state whose mission is to help the Latino community have healthier lifestyles.

The Newberry group formed in 2010 when it began offering prenatal courses, according to Ana Cossio, program coordinator for Newberry, Saluda and Edgefield.

“PASOs is a community based program started by the Arnold School of Public Health (at the University of South Carolina) and was created nine years ago,” said Cossio. “The idea is to continue growing and cover all the communities in South Carolina.

“Our mission is to help the Latino community and service providers work together for strong and healthy families. We do this through education, support and grassroots development,” she added.

Cossio said they now offer classes on maternity, children’s health, sexual education and other health or educational topics that benefit the whole family. The group began its educational and health workshops in January.

“Every month is a different topic,” said Cossio.

The sessions, which are free, have averaged about 20 participants and have had as many as 30, she said. Cossio encourages those who can to share the information with family and friends.

“The topics are important for the whole family,” she said.

The meetings are held at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer at 10 a.m. Fridays. Cossio said women from the church help with child care.

One event PASOs organized was a health fair held Aug. 9 at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in association with the Newberry hospital. Westview Behavioral Health Services, Sister Care and other stat agencies also participated. A similar health fair was held in Saluda.

She’s been working in Newberry and Edgefield for three and a half years and for four years in Saluda.

She said the group wants to incorporate more professionals to help with educating the Latinos about health issues.

“Wherever the Latino community is, we want to work,” said Cossio. “That is our work, to connect people with resources and that’s why we educate them to be healthy and strong.”

Visit www.scpasos.org to find out more about the group or how to volunteer.

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