Having done community organizing and direct service work for four years in the Portland’s African community, AFHHO has found that the families we work with, particularly the men, often do not participate in mainstream community activities, which include visiting and engaging in community centers, participating in civic engagement, and engaging in outdoor and physical activities. We have found the primary reasons for their lake of engagement is a result lack of exposure to these opportunities and/or not feeling welcome when participating in such activities. As a result, we have observed African men becoming socially isolated, turning to other less healthy activities, e.g., smoking, drinking alcohol, and/or eating poorly, resulting in their living an unhealthy lifestyle. The resulting social isolation also led to a lack of social support from their peers, unhealthy family dynamics, and the lack of feeling self-empowerment necessary for changing their own lives and the life of their families and community.
Our purpose is to support these children and adults as they adapt to American culture while maintaining or enhancing family and community values important to them. Our goal is for each new arrival to achieve greater personal development via AFHHO programs and activities that address educational needs, health care, employment, housing and cultural issues.
AFHHO has served over 500 African families and few Caribbean families since starting in 2014, providing workshops, focus groups, individual and group advocacy, healthcare navigation, assistance accessing private and public resources, and direct client support with chronic disease prevention and maternal and child health promotion.
African Family Holistic Health Organization’s (AFHHO) mission is to seek to build on our strengths to improve our communities’ health through peer health education, increased access to health resources, and connecting community members with health providers to create positive change.