As the College of the Canyons Skills for Healthy Aging Resources and Programs (SHARP) program prepares to enter its second year of operation this fall, a number of recent SHARP graduates are already beginning to see their new skill sets produce results.
The college’s SHARP program is geared toward individuals interested in pursuing a career in aging services or the larger health-care industry. By providing students with the skills needed to assist older adults and deliver various types of evidence-based health promotion (EBHP) strategies, the SHARP program has been able to help address a core, yet neglected, need within the industry.
“With more than 10,000 adults becoming ‘older adults’ every day, aging services and the management of chronic health conditions have become major areas of focus throughout the state,” said Dr. Patty Robinson, dean of Social Sciences and Business at the college and SHARP program coordinator. “As a result, the agencies and organizations dedicated to addressing these issues are increasingly looking for qualified applicants to work in these areas.”
Since its inception in the fall of 2011, the SHARP program has produced 50 graduates of various ages and career interests. Of that group, several have already started to apply their training for both personal and professional purposes.
“Before enrolling in the program, I didn’t know anything about the existence of evidence-based health programs,” said SHARP program graduate Kathryn Keogh, who originally enrolled in the program to enhance her resume and eventually attain new employment.
However, since enrolling in the program in spring 2012, Keogh has completed the 12-units of coursework along with all associated field requirements, and was recently hired by Partners in Care Foundation.
“I’m putting everything I learned in the program to work,” said Keogh, whose job responsibilities include the implementation of grant funded statewide evidence-based programs for older adults. “But I’m also able to use what I’ve learned in my personal life as my parents begin to age.”
Indeed, the SHARP program has also provided many students with skills and knowledge that can be applied both in the workplace and throughout their personal lives.
“Through this program I’ve learned a lot about the older adult population, but it doesn’t stop there,” said SHARP program graduate Lizbeth Naranjo. “I’m now better able to understand my grandparents’ health issues, the types of health issues my parents will eventually go through, and how important it is for everyone to start taking action with their own health habits.”
Other students — especially those who might already fall into the older adult category — have even used the program to get a better grip on their own personal health issues.
“My interest came after I read an article about the SHARP program and thought to myself ‘wouldn’t it be great to take a course and learn about me,’ — and learn I did, ” said SHARP program graduate Edward Shain, 78.
“My decision was not made with any particular career in mind,” added Shain. “I just really wanted to learn more about the segment of society I am a part of, and what the future holds for us as a group.”
Students and community members interested in learning more about the College of the Canyons Skills for Healthy Aging Resources and Programs (SHARP) certificate program are invited to attend one of three upcoming program information sessions being held at the college’s Valencia campus in Hasley Hall, Room 230 at the following dates and times:
* 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14
* 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15
* 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16
“This is a wonderful program, and I encourage anyone interested in preparing for their own future, helping with aging relatives or looking for an interesting new career path to invest one semester and add the SHARP certificate to your degree, resume and life experience,” said SHARP program graduate Lori Wolfe. “You won’t be sorry you did, you’ll be SHARP!”
For more information about the college’s SHARP program and upcoming information sessions please contact Dr. Patty Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (661) 362-3992 or visit http://www.canyons.edu/departments/SOC/SHARP/Sharp_Home.asp.