For Carla, a Mercy Housing resident, exercise and healthy eating aren’t short-term objectives; they’re a way of life. She is a stroke, heart attack, and two-time cancer survivor who understands how exercise and healthy eating can improve a person’s quality of life.
“I know the right kinds of food and the wrong kinds of food. I know what makes me feel good and what makes me feel bad. I want to feel good,” she said.
Carla was one of the most active participants in Mercy Housing Lakefront’s 2015 Feel Better Challenge, an eight-week fitness and healthy lifestyle challenge. She didn’t limit herself to the special Feel Better programs and activities available at the Miriam or at other properties in Uptown, but took advantage of programs being offered at Mercy properties throughout Chicago, like group exercise classes, therapeutic arts and crafts sessions, meditation and yoga.
She was also a source of inspiration and motivation to other women in the building. “I used to go knocking on doors to get people walking. Now the ladies come to find me,” said Carla.
What’s more, Carla was one of two residents recently accepted into a leadership program for GirlTrek, a national nonprofit that mobilizes African-American women to live their healthiest, most fulfilled lives through daily walking.
“I wanted to be involved not only for myself,” she said. “I want to help other women in the community get in tune with their bodies. In the program, I will learn how to help them grow in mind, body, and soul.”