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Volunteer Spotlight: Luann Jacobs

LuannJacobsThis month, get to know N Street Village volunteer, Luann Jacobs. Luann has been coordinating volunteers for the Wellness Center’s Reiki/Biofeedback program since July 2013. The Reiki/Biofeedback program promotes relaxation, stress reduction, restores balance, eliminates blockages, supports the immune system, and fosters all around healing and well-being. She enjoys the relaxing pace of living in close proximity of Shenandoah National Park and spending time with her husband, their 3 dogs, and cat. Let’s get know Luann…

I became interested in integrative medicine because of a back injury that caused me pain for 15 years. I discovered Reiki in 1992 and it wasn’t long before I was free of pain and offering Reiki to my brain injured clients to help them shift emotionally away from frustration, anger, and depression into letting go and moving on. I was a founding staff member of the GW Center for Integrative Medicine (CIM) in 1998 when Dr. John Pan opened the doors and began this now 16+ year journey (and still going) to help medicine change the way it is practiced. Biofeedback became a natural part of the practice of Reiki in a medical setting so I could demonstrate in visual terms the effectiveness of touch in balancing the nervous system. Today, I combine the two practices and teach them both so others can learn to care for themselves. It was while working at CIM that I met Katharine Pan who talked about her volunteer work at N Street Village and the wonderful women there. She is the reason I am now able to offer the Reiki/Biofeedback program at N Street Village.

Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the DC area? Indiana born, I have lived and worked in many cities and in Southeast Asia. I have been in DC this last time since 1988, but also lived and worked here in the early 1970’s. Five years ago we moved from Arlington to Front Royal, a small town 70 miles west of Washington.

What is your favorite D.C. restaurant? I love Indian, Thai, and most Asian food. My current favorite restaurant is Haandi Indian Restaurant in Falls Church.

On a Saturday evening you will find me…at home in Front Royal with my husband making dinner and watching a movie. My husband is a vegetable gardener and a great cook. We eat quite well from what we grow.

What is the last movie you watched (and enjoyed)? I was late to seeing Gravity and it left me breathless. I had to stop several times to regroup!

What is your favorite D.C. landmark? Washington is such a beautiful city and there are so many famous landmarks. I love most of the parks around the city that offer greenery and space. I also enjoy the Smithsonian Mall, the art museums, our view of the Capital, the Reflecting Pool, Lincoln in his chair…it’s so hard to pick one!

Describe N Street Village in 3 words or less. Heart centered.

What makes N Street Village unique to you? The women! The passion for letting go of the pain from the past and being here now in this moment, which allows you to have that next moment.

Meet N Street Village’s Health Promotion Team

By Nettie Faratci – Nettie is a member of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps and serves as the Program Associate in N Street Village’s Wellness Center. 

N Street Village’s Wellness Center offers programs and services that take a holistic approach to wellness, addressing the mind, body, and spirit. I sat down with Kate and Ugo, two members of N Street Village’s Health Promotion team, to learn more about what’s going on at the Wellness Center and their visions for the Center’s future.

Kate and Ugo

N Street Village Health Promotion team – Kate and Ugo.

Nettie: Tell us a little about yourself.  What brought you to N Street Village?
Ugo
:  I’ve always been interested in maternal health and working with underserved populations.  Having lived in an underserved area in Nigeria, I learned that there are a number of external factors affecting one’s health. I wanted to learn more about these issues through focusing on women and children.  When I learned about the opportunity to work as a Health Promotion Specialist at N Street Village, I thought it would be a good fit and would allow me to focus on this particular population.
Kate: I am a recent nursing graduate with an interest in both public health and women’s health. I came across a service corps program that was offering a great nursing position at N Street Village, and it seemed like a great fit.

Nettie:  What is your role in the Wellness Center?  Are there any special projects you are working on?
Ugo:
I work as the Health Promotion Specialist in the Wellness Center. My main project is focused on  helping manage the burden clients face with diabetes.  One way I do this is by collaborating with partner organizations that have a vested interest in diabetes education and management through primary, secondary and tertiary intervention.  We link clients with specialists and also use the peer health partner model to empower clients to teach each other about their condition.
Kate: I work as the Health Promotion Nurse in the Wellness Center.  I work in a variety of ways to ensure that our clients’ health needs are being met. I conduct one-on-one meetings, help with problem-solving, help out in the medical clinic when needed, and lead a health education class. The special project I am currently working on is our reiki and biofeedback initiative. This initiatives focuses on providing clients with pain and stress management, while fostering personal wellness and equipping them with the tools to help others in the community.

Nettie:  When you think of N Street Village, what words come to mind?
Ugo:
  Innovation, empowerment, diversity, and community.
Kate:  I agree with all of those. I would add that N Street Village is holistic and caring.

Nettie: What is your favorite part about working at N Street Village and in the Wellness Center?
Ugo:
  I enjoy working one-on-one with our clients, helping troubleshoot when issues arise, and advocating for our clients.
Kate:  I really like walking through the halls and saying hello to all the women. It gives me a chance to check-in with them.

Nettie: What does “wellness” mean to you?
Ugo:
  Wellness means being complete. Being stable mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally.
Kate:  Wellness is a sort of a comprehensive peace of mind and body, where people feel that they are in a good place with their health, both mentally and physically. They also feel equipped to manage the health challenges that come their way.

Nettie: What do you hope for the future of health promotion at N Street Village?
Kate:
I’m hope that we can continue to provide our services and foster an environment where people know that their health needs are being supported.
Ugo: I see a health promotion office where we are instrumental in advancing the mission of N Street Village. I hope that our work leads to more clients having an improved knowledge, attitude, and practice of health issues that they can use as tools as they transition out of N Street Village.

Nettie: If you could buy anything for the Wellness Center, what would it be?
Ugo:
  Hemoglobin AIC testing equipment to help the women we serve with diabetes management.
Kate:  I would buy an ice cream machine that lowers your risk for diabetes. One can dream!

nettie1About the Interviewer: As the Program Associate in N Street Village’s Wellness Center, Nettie coordinates programming and services in the Wellness Center, works with volunteers and community partners, and teaches a weekly nutrition class. Nettie is from Chicago, IL and graduated from Brandeis University with a BS in public health and biology. In her spare time, Nettie enjoys cooking, reading, and spending quality time with family and friends.